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Attentive to the wise, the great of soul,
And dignify thy mind. Thrice glorious days,
Auspicious to the Muses ! then rever'd,
Then hallow'd was the fount, or secret shade,
open mountain, or whatever fcene
The poet chose to tune th' ennobling rhime
Melodious ; ev'n the rugged fons of war,
Ev’n the rude hinds rever'd the Poet's name :
But now another age, alas ! is ours -
Yet will the Mufe a little longer foar,
Unless the clouds of care weigh down her wing,
Since nature's stores are fhut with cruel hand,
And each aggrieves his brother; fince in vain
The thirsty pilgrim at the fountain aks
Th' o'erflowing wave-Enough-the plaint disdain.“
See'st thou yon fane? ev'n now incessant timen Sweeps her low mould'ring marbles to the dust; And Phæbus' temple, nodding with its woods Threatens huge ruin o'er the small rotund. 'Twas there beneath a fig-tree's umbrage broad, Th' aitonilh'd fwains with rev'rend awe beheid Thee, o Quirinus, and thy brother-twin, Pressing the teat within a monster's grasp Sportive; while oft the gaunt and rugged wolf Turn’d her stretch'd neck and form’d your tender limbs : So taught of Jove, ev'n the fell favage fed
? The temple of Romulus and Renus under mount Palatin.
Your sacred infancies, your virtues, toils,
The conquests, glories, of th' Ausonian state,
Wrapp'd in their secret seeds. Each kindred foul,
Robust and stout, ye grapple to your hearts,
And little Rome appears. Her cots arise,
Green twigs of osier weave the slender walls,
Green rushes spread the roofs ; and here and there.
Opens beneath the rock the gloomy cave.
Elate with joy Etruscan Tiber views
Her spreading scenes enamelling his waves,
Her huts and hollow dells, and flocks and herds,
And gath'ring swains; and rolls his yellow car
To Neptune's court with more majestick train.
Her speedy growth alarm'd the states around
Jealous, yet soon by wond'rous virtue won,
They fink into her bosom. From the plough
Rose her dictators; fought, o'ercame, return'd,
Yes, to the plough return'd, and hail'd their peers;
For then no private pomp, no houshold state,
The publick only swell’d the gen'rous breast.
Who has not heard the Fabian heroes sung ?
Dentatus' scars, or Mutiųs? Aaming hand ?
How Manlius fav’d the Capitol ? the choice
Of steady Regulus ? As yet they stood,
Simple of life ; as yet seducing wealth
Was unexplor'd, and shame of poverty
Yet unimagin'd-Shine not all the fields
With various fruitage ? murmur not the brooks
Along the flow'ry vallies? They, content,
Feafted at nature's hand, indelicate,
Blithe, in their easy tafte ; and only fought
To know their duties ; that their only strife,
Their gen’rous strife, and greatly to perform.
They through all shapes of peril and of pain,
Intent on honour, dar'd in thickest death
To snatch the glorious deed. Nor Trebia quellid,
Nor Thrasymene, por Canna's bloody field,
Their dauntless courage ; ftorming Hannibal
In vain the thunder of the battle roll'd,
The thunder of the battle they return'd
Back on his Punick shores ; 'till Carthage fell,
And danger Aled afar. The city gleam'd
With precious spoils : alas prosperity !
Ah baneful state ! yet ebb'd not all their ftrength
In soft luxurious pleasures ; proud defire
Of boundless sway, and fev'rish thirst of gold,
Rous'd them again to battle. Beauteous Greece,
Torn from her joys, in vain with languid arm
Half rais'd her rusty shield ; nor could avail
The sword of Dacia, nor the Parthian dart ;
Nor yet the car of that fam'd British chief,
Which seven brave years beneath the doubtful wing
Of vi&t'ry, dreadful roll'd its griding wheels
Over the bloody wār: the Roman arms
Triumph’d, 'till Fame was filent of their foes.
And now the world unrivall’d they enjoy'd
In proud security: the crested helm,
The plated greave and corfelet hung unbrac'd;
Nor clank'd their arms, the spear and founding shield,
But on the glitt'ring trophy to the wind.
Diffoly'd in ease and soft delights they lie,
'Till ev'ry fun annoys, and ev'ry wind
Has chilling force, and ev'ry rain offends :
For now the frame no more is girt with strength
Masculine, nor in fuftinefs of heart
Laughs at the winter form, and summer beam,
Superior to their rage : enfeebling vice
Withers each nerve, and opens every pore
To painful feeling : flow'ry bow'rs they seek
(As æther prompts, as the fick sense approves) )
Or cool Nymphean grots; or tepid baths
(Taught by the soft Ionians) they, along
The lawny vale, of ev'ry beauteous stone,
Pile in the roseat air with fond expence:
Through filver channels glide the vagrant waves,
And fall on silver beds crystalline down,
Melodious murmuring; while luxury
Over their naked limbs, with wanton hand,
Sheds roses, odours, sheds unheeded bane.
Swift is the flight of wealth; unnumber'd wants,
Brood of volupt’ousness, cry out aloud
Neceslity, and seek the splendid bribe.
The citron board, the bowl emboss'd with gems,
And tender foliage wildly wreath'd around
Of seeming ivy, by that artful hand,
Corinthian Thericles; whate'er is known
of rarest acquisition ; Tyrian garbs,
Neptunian Albion's high teftaceous food,
And flavour'd Chian wines with incense fum'd
To shake Patrician thirit: for these, their rights
In the vile streets they prostitute to fale;
Their ancient rights, their dignities, their laws,
Their native glorious freedom. Is there none,
Is there no villain, that will bind the neck
Stretch'd to the yoke? they come; the market throngs.
But who has most by fraud or force amass'd ?
Who moft can charm corruption with his doles ?
He be the monarch of the state ; and lo!
Didius, vile us'rer, through the crowd he mounts,
Beneath his feet the Roman eagle cow'rs,
And the red arrows fill his grasp uncouth.
O Britons, O my countrymen, beware,
Gird, gird your hearts ; the Romans once were free,,
Were brave, were virtuous.-Tyranny howe'er
Deign’d to walk forth awhile in pageant ftate,
And with licentious pleasures fed the rout,
The thoughtless many: to the wanton sound
Of fifes and drums they danc'd, or in the shade
Sung Cæfar, great and terrible in war,
Immortal Cæsar! lo, a God, a God,
• Didius Julianus, who bought the empire.