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(1887) [MARC] Author: Viktor Rydberg Translator: Alfred Corning Clark With: Hans Anton Westesson Lindehn
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ROMAN TRADITIONS OF PETER AND PAUL. 259
tion, this miracle, had overpowered her. She felt that
she loved the tyrant
!
It is a sad story, that of Picerna. Let us then speak
of her but briefly. Clearly, Nero and she would see one
another again. The emperor asked it, and her own heart,
trembling, wished it. Plain is it, too, on which side the
victory would be. That which a little child like her
dreams of the possibility of ennobling a Nero, is but
froth.
But one day, the father of Picerna returned from an
honorable campaign : honorable, because in the Roman
army could yet be found veterans like himself, sons in
spirit of the old republic, who still harbored the repub-
lican idea, that honor is man’s ornament, chastity woman’s.
His faithful wife was dead, his three sons had fallen all
upon the field of battle—he had now only a daughter, to
comfort his old age.
Scarce had he and his legions come within the walls
of Rome, before one said to him: "Thou lucky man!
The greatest honor awaits thee, for Picerna has found
favor with the emperor."
There was a film before his eyes, as he heard the
words. And when he found Picerna, " Daughter," said
he, " lift a burden from thy father’s shoulders. Thou
knowest the rumor that is current here. Say it is a lie,
and I will weep for joy, and bless thee !
"
" Father," said Picerna, and fell at his feet, " thy
daughter is guilty. Forgive her !
"
" I forgive thee, but I cannot survive it/’ said the old
soldier. " Woe is me, that a race whose men have all
been brave and whose women all chaste, should end like
this
!
"

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