ill himself with an entirely new life, and from his soul he cried that it was impossible; it was impossible!
Before Vinicius had entirely recovered Nero commanded his presence at Antium, whither the court was going for the hot summer months. Nero was ambitious to write an immortal epic poem which should rival the "Odyssey," and in order that he might describe realistically a burning city, gave a secret command while he was in Antium that Rome should be set on fire.
One evening, when the court was assembled to hear Nero recite some of his poetry, a slave appeared.
"Pardon, Divine Imperator, Rome is burning! The whole city is a sea of flames!" A moment of horrified silence followed, broken by the cry of Vinicius. He rushed forth, and, springing on his horse, dashed into the deep night. A horseman, rushing also like a whirlwind, but in the opposite direction, toward Antium, shouted as he raced past: "Rome is perishing!" To the ears of Vinicius came only one more expression: "Gods!" The rest