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AN INVOCATION. “ There is a river, the streams whereof shall make glad the city of God.”—Psalm xlvi. 4.
River of eternal love,
Overflow my stony heart,
Ev'ry reptile foe destroy,
Renovate the dreary scene,
Cause the tender shrubs to thrive,
River of eternal love,
J. S. HARVEY.
ROMAN ALTAR, &c. It was the politic custom of the Romans, when open opposition to their arms had ceased, to select the bravest of the conquered country's late defenders, to form them into a Roman legion, and to transport them from their homes to some distant frontier of the empire, where they might be opposed to barbarians like themselves, and so might be converted from dangerous enemies into useful allies. The unhappy country thus became an easy prey to the conquerors; the lands were divided among the veterans of the army, or among colonists from Italy, and even from Rome itself. These bringing with them the arts and luxuries of that polished city, soon converted what might formerly have been a forest or a morass, into a highly cultivated country; and elegant cities were soon seen to rise, where formerly the rude hut of mud, or the fortification of unshaped stones, were the only objects.
This was the case with Britain, as soon fierce inhabitants had been subdued; numerous colonies from Rome and Italy came to take possession of the land, and numerous cities were built, some of which still remain, as York and London; others have VOL. v. 3rd SERIES.
as the fallen to decay, and no traces of them are to be found, except when the plough sometimes turns up a fragment of some broken vessel, or a few coins of the Roman Emperors.
A Roman city was not built like a modern English town, by slow degrees, but was completed at once:—a colony having arrived, a spot was chosen, generally near some navigable river, and here the foundations of the city were dug-the walls erected—the temple, the theatre, the circus, and the bathis built-and then the private houses ; so that it was generally formed on some uniform plan, and completed in a few months. It was from the ruins of one of these cities that the altar represented in the plate was dug. On the front there has been an inseription, which is now defaced, and on the sides are representations of the instruments used in sacrifice.