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217

(1887) [MARC] Author: Viktor Rydberg Translator: Alfred Corning Clark With: Hans Anton Westesson Lindehn
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ROMAN TRADITIONS OF PETER AND PAUL. 2\y
parted spirits, and proclaimed deliverance to the expect-
ant souls. Virgil has seen him, there."
" I am glad to hear that, for he was in his lifetime
dear to all who knew him," said the old man from Ve-
suvius.
And so they came to the goal of their pilgrimage.
The apostle stood long, lost in silent thought, by the
grave of the heathen singer. An old Latin song tells us
that he " shed the dew of pious tears," over the dust,
and at last uttered :
" Could I on my path have stayed thee.
What a man I might have made thee.
Greatest of the poets all ! " *
Near the resting-place of Virgil stood, at that time, a
stately villa adorned Avith Grecian works of art, belonging
to the poet Silius Italicus. He was in the habit of daily
visiting the grave, which was for him as a holy temple.
He came even now, accompanied by his friend Plinius,
chief captain of the Roman fleet stationed at Misenum.
Crowned with chaplets and wrapped in their togas, they
approached the Hebrew stranger, and began a friendly
conversation with him. Paul said to Silius: **
I also can
prophesy, although I am no poet. And I say to you now,
that we two, by separate ways but in the same year, shall
rise to the highest point of our honor. Thy way shall
lead up before the Capitol, and steel shall glitter in front
* Ad Maronis mausoleum
Ductus, fudit super eum
Pias rorem lacrymae.
Quantum, inquit, te fecissem
Virum, si te invenissem,
Poetarum maxima .’
10

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