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“ the Romans, in order to preserve the Pal
myreniuns from being divested of all their “ former privileges.”
Zenobia, not in the least affrighted by the menace, nor soothed by the cruel promise of a life in exile and obscurity ; resolved by her answer to convince Aurelian, that he should find the stoutest resistance from her, whom he thought to frighten into compli
This answer was drawn up by Longinus in a spirit peculiar to himself, and worthy of his mistress.
ZENOBIA, QUEEN OF THE EAST, TO TIIE EMPEROR
“ Never was such an unreasonable demand proposed, or such rigorous terms offered,
by any but yourself. Remember, Aurelian, “ that in war, whatever is done, should be
done by valour. You imperiously command me to surrender; but can you forget, that
Cleopatra chose rather to die with the title “ of Queen, than to live in any
inferior dignity? We expect succours from Persia; “ the Saracens are arming in our cause; even “ the Syrian banditti have already defeated
your army. : Judge what you are to ex
pect from a conjunction of these forces. “ You shall be compelled to abate that pride, “ with which, as if you were absolute lord “ of the universe, you command me to be
come your captive.”
Aurelian, says Vopiscus, had no sooner read this disdainful letter, than he blushed (not so much with shame, as) with indignation. He redoubled his efforts, invested the town more closely, than ever, and kept it in continual alarms. No art was left untried, which the conduct of a general could suggest, or the bravery of angry soldiers could put in execution. He intercepted the aid which was marching from Persia to its relief. He reduced the Saracen and Armenian forces, either by strength of arms, or the subtility of intrigues ; till at length, the Palmyrenians, deprived of all prospect of succour, and worn out by continual assaults from without, and by famine within, were obliged to open the gates and receive their
and Longinus could not tamely stay to put on their chains. Mounted on the swiftest camels, they endeavoured to fly into Persia, to make fresh head against Aurelian, who, entering the city,
was vexed to find his victory imperfect, and Zenobia yet unsubdued. A body of the swiftest horse was immediately dispatched in pursuit, who övertook and made them pri
soners as they were crossing the Euphrates. Zosimus. Aurelian, after he had settled Palmyra, re
turned to Emisa, whither the captives were carried after him. He sat on his tribunal to receive Zenobia, or rather to insult her. The Roman soldiers throng around her, and demand her death with incessant shouts. Zenobia now was no longer herself; the former greatness of her spirit quite sunk within her; she owned a master, and pleaded for her life. “ Her counsellors (she said) were to be “ blamed, and not herself. What could a “ weak short-sighted woman do, when beset
by artful and ambitious men, who made “ her subservient to all their schemes! She “ never had aimed at empire, had they not
placed it before her eyes in all its allure66 ments.
The letter which affronted Aure“ lian was not her own ; Longinus wrote it, " the insolence was his." This was no sooner heard, than Aurelian, who was soldier enough to conquer, but not hero enough to forgive, poured all his vengeance on the head of Longinus. He was borne away to immediate
execution, amidst the generous condolence of those who knew his merit, and admired the inward generosity of his spul. He pitied Zenobia, and comforted his friends. He looked upon death as a blessing, since it rescued his body from slavery, and gave his soul the most desirable freedom. “ This world (said he with his expiring breath) “ is nothing but a “prison; happy therefore he who gets soonest “out of it, and gains his liberty.”
The writings of Longinus are numerous, some on philosophical, but the greatest part on critical subjects. Dr. Pearce has collected the titles of twenty-five Treatises, none of which, except this on the Sublime, have escaped from the depredations of time and barbarians. And even this is rescued as from a wreck, damaged too much and shattered by the storm. Yet on this little and imperfect piece has the fame of Longinus been founded and erected. The learned and judicious have bestowed extraordinary commendation upon it. The Golden Treatise is its general title. It is one of those valuable remnants of antiquity, of which enough remains to engage our admiration, and excite an earnest regret for every particle of it that has perished. It resembles those mutilated statues, which are
sometimes digged out of ruins. Limbs are broken off, which it is not in the power of
, any living artist to replace, because the fine proportion and delicate finishing of the trunk excludes all hope of equalling such masterly performances. From a constant inspection and close study of such an antique fragment at Rome, Michael Angelo learned to execute and to teach the art of Sculpture; it was therefore called Michael Angelo's School. The same use may be made of this imperfect piece on the Sublime, since it is a noble school for Critics, Poets, Orators, and Historians.
“ The Sublime, says Longinus, is an image “ reflected from the inward greatness of the “ soul.” The remark is refined and just; and who more deserving than he of its application? Let his sentiments be considered as reflexions from his own mind ; let this piece on the Sublime be regarded as the picture of its author. It is a pity we have not a larger portrait of him ; but as that cannot be had, we must take up at present with this incomplete, tho' beautiful miniature. The features are graceful, the air is noble, the colouring lively enough to shew how fine it was, and how many qualifications are necessary to form the character of a Critic with dignity and applause.