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306

(1887) [MARC] Author: Viktor Rydberg Translator: Alfred Corning Clark With: Hans Anton Westesson Lindehn
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Full resolution (JPEG) - On this page / på denna sida - Pencil Sketches in Rome - 3. The Colosseum

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306 ROMAN DA YS.
overtaken it, would even in this case bring with it an ex-
piation. Its ruins, as they now bathe in the moonlight
and silver mists, seem to wash themselves clean from
traces of blood, to give the beholder an unmingled enjoy-
ment of their mournful grandeur.
Let us imagine a wall high as a tower, curving in an
ellipse of the circumference of nearly eight hundred paces,
pierced by eighty door-arches and ornamented with four
rows of pilasters placed one above the other, lowest a
Doric then an Ionic and two Corinthian ; let us farther
imagine that marble statues adorn the arcades of the sec-
ond and third storeys, and bronze shields the space be-
tween the windows of the fourth storey ; that gilded
poles, between which a tent is stretched, rise above the
top of the wall, and that the whole varies in the warm
tints of the travertine—and we have an idea of the ex-
terior of the Flavian amphitheatre, as it was once.
Its interior rises in terraces, from which, when a pa-
geant is given, eighty-seven thousand spectators, divided
on five rows of benches, look down, with feverish tension
in their features and bloodthirstiness in their eyes, upon
a plain of sand, where lions and tigers, elephants, hippo-
potamuses, fight with each other or with men condemned
to death; where gladiators in the most different arms
and equipment, from the naked net-caster to the steel-
clad myrmillon, march in, with the cry ;
" Ccesar, these
consecrate to death salute thee .’" and fight, to fall and
be dragged out dead, by figures in masks of Hades;
where fountains, palms and rocks rise as if by enchant-
ment from the earth ; where the clang of arms, the plaints
of the wounded, the roar of the wild beasts, and the ac-
clamations and applause of the spectators stun the ear,
while the eye growing giddy, sweeps over a sea of heads

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