American Old Time Song Lyrics: 40 Death Of Gaudentis

Theater, Music-Hall, Nostalgic, Irish & Historic Old Songs, Volume 40

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By Harriet Annie.

[The following inscription was found in the Catacombs by Mr. Perret, upon the tomb of
the Architect of the Coliseum. "Thus thou keepest thy promises, O Vespasian! the
rewarding with death him, the crown of thy glory in Rome. Do rejoice, O Gaudentis!
the cruel tyrant promised much, but Christ gave thee all. who prepared thee such a
mansion." -Professor J. De Lannay's Lecture on the Catacombs.

Before Vespasian's regal throne skilful Gaudentis stood;
"Build me," the haughty monarch cried, "a theatre for blood.
I know thou'rt skilled in mason's work, thine is the power to frame
Rome's Coliseum vast and wide, an honor to thy name.

"Over seven acres spread thy work, and by the gods of Rome,
Thou shalt hereafter by my side have thy resplendent home.
A citizen of Roman rights, silver and golden store,
These shall be thine; let Christian blood but stain the marble floor."

So rose the amphitheatre; tower and arch And tier;
There dawned a day when martyrs stood within that ring of fear.
But strong their quenchless trust in God, and strong their human love;
Their eyes of faith, undimmed, were Used on temples far above.

And thousands gazed, in brutal joy, to watch the Christians die;
And one beside Vespasian leaned, with a strange light in his eye.
What thoughts welled up within his breast, as on that group he gazed,
What gleams of holy light from heaven upon his dark soul blazed

Had he by password gained access to the dark catacomb,
And learned the hope of Christ's beloved, beyond the rack, the tomb?
The proud Vespasian o'er him bends, "My priceless architect,
To-day I will announce to all thy privilege elect-

A free-made citizen of Rome. "Calmly Gaudentis rose,
And folding o'er his breast his arms, turned to the Saviour's foes;
And in a strength not all his own, with life and death in view,
The fearless architect exclaimed, "I am a Christian, too."

Only a few brief moments passed, and brave Gaudentis lay
Within the amphitheatre, a lifeless mass of clay.
Vespasian promised him the rights of proud imperial Rome,
But Christ with martyrs crowned him king, beneath heaven's cloudless dome.
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