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139

(1887) [MARC] Author: Viktor Rydberg Translator: Alfred Corning Clark With: Hans Anton Westesson Lindehn
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THE ROMAN EMPERORS IN MARBLE. I
39
the palace. The thunder rolls and the rain falls. He
hastens back into his bedchamber, and seeks after his
poison-case, but it is not to be found. At last, a few
shadows appear. They are Sporus, the court-officers
Epaphroditus and Phaon,and a fourth who is not named.
They announce what he has already guessed : that the
praetorians with Tigellinus at their head, and the German
life-guard, have revolted. He wishes, then, to send for
Speculus the gladiator, that he may die by a surely-
aimed thrust of the sword ; but the four trusty friends
hurry him along with them, throw a cloak over him,
bind a cloth over his face, and with him, mount. The
riders gallop on through the streets leading to the No-
mentan gate. On the right of the gate, lay the walled
camp of the praetorians, the present Campo Militare.
From this quarter, shouts and rejoicing are heard through
the storm. The friends of rebellion have made haste
thither, declared Nero the foe of his country and exhort-
ed the soldiers to proclaim Galba emperor. A few night
wa^fterers who meet the fugitives, remark :
" Those peo-
ple are pursuing Nero." " What news from the city?
"
ask others, they meet outside the gate. The emperor’s
horse is frightened at the stench of a corpse lying on the
road. The veil falls from Nero’s face, and by the glare
of a flash of lightning, he is recognized and greeted by
name, by a retired praetorian. The old writers add,
perhaps for the sake of a better effect, that an earthquake
took place, and heightened the horror of the night.
Hardly a quarter of a Swedish mile* from the city,
on the other side of the sacred mountain, on the grounds
of the present Tenuta Serpentana, lay Phaon’s villa, the
fugitives’ goal. They turned off to the right, from the
* A Swedish mile equals, approximately, six English miles.—C.

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