The Last Days of Pompeii

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George Routledge and Sons, 1873 - Pompeii (Extinct city) - 428 pages

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Page 377 - ... civilization were broken up. Ever and anon, by the flickering lights, you saw the thief hastening by the most solemn authorities of the law, laden with and fearfully chuckling over the produce of his sudden gains. If, in the darkness, wife was separated from husband, or parent from child, vain was the hope of reunion. Each hurried blindly and confusedly on. Nothing in all the various and complicated machinery of social life was left save the primal law of self-preservation ! Through this awful...
Page 376 - ... fell, broke into countless fragments, emitting sparks of fire, which caught whatever was combustible within their reach ; and along the plains beyond the city the darkness was now terribly relieved ; for several houses, and even vineyards, had been set on flames; and at various intervals, the fires rose sullenly and fiercely against the solid gloom.
Page 376 - In some places immense fragments of rock, hurled upon the house roofs, bore down along the streets masses of confused ruin, which yet more and more, with every hour, obstructed the way ; and, as the day advanced, the motion of the earth was more sensibly felt ; the footing seemed to slide and creep, nor could chariot or litter be kept steady, even on the most level ground. Sometimes the huger stones, striking against each other as they fell, broke into countless fragments, emitting sparks of fire,...
Page 367 - ... them, dark and rapid, like a torrent ; at the same time it cast forth from its bosom a shower of ashes mixed with vast fragments of burning stone. Over the crushing vines — over the desolate streets — over the Amphitheatre itself — far and wide — with many a mighty splash in the agitated sea — fell that awful shower!
Page 392 - ... in its gardens the sacrificial tripod, — in its halls the chest of treasure, — in its baths the strigil, — in its theatres the counter of admission, — in its saloons the furniture and the lamp, — in its triclinia the fragments of the last feast, — in its cubicula the perfumes and .the rouge of faded beauty, — and everywhere the...
Page 381 - And through the stilled air was heard the rattling of the fragments of rock, hurtling one upon another as they were borne down the fiery cataracts — darkening, for one instant, the spot where they fell, and suffused, the next, in the burnished hues of the flood along which they floated ! The slaves shrieked aloud, and, cowering, hid their faces.
Page 381 - Its summit seemed riven in two ; or rather, above its surface there seemed to rise two monster shapes, each confronting each, as Demons contending for a World. These were of one deep blood-red hue of fire, which lighted up the whole atmosphere far and wide ; but below, the nether part of the mountain was still dark and shrouded, save in three places, adown which flowed, serpentine and irregular, rivers of the molten lava.
Page 366 - He stretched his hand on high ; over his lofty brow and royal features there came an expression of unutterable solemnity and command. " Behold ! " he shouted with a voice of thunder, which stilled the roar of the crowd ; " behold how the gods protect the guiltless ! The fires of the avenging Orcus burst forth against the false witness of my accusers...
Page 362 - ... uttered rather a baffled howl than its deep-toned and kingly roar. It evinced no sign, either of wrath or hunger ; its tail drooped along the sand, instead of lashing its gaunt sides ; and its eye, though it wandered at times to Glaucus, rolled again listlessly from him. At length, as if tired of attempting to escape, it crept with a moan into its cage, and once more laid itself down to rest.
Page 375 - In the pauses of the showers, you heard the rumbling of the earth beneath, and the groaning waves of the tortured sea ; or, lower still, and audible but to the watch of intensest fear, the grinding and hissing murmur of the escaping gases through the chasms of the distant mountain. Sometimes the cloud appeared to break from its solid mass, and, by the lightning, to assume quaint and vast...

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