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Bold on the crystal plains the Thracians ride,
And print with sounding keels the stable tide.
So ftill a form th' Ionian waters take,
Dull as the muddy marih and standing lake :
No breezes o’er the curling surface país,
Nor fun-beams tremble in the liquid glass;
No usual turns revolving Tethys knows,
Nor with alternate rollings ebbs and flows : 640
But sluggish ocean sleeps in ftupid peace,
And weary nature's motions seem to cease.
With differing eyes the hostile fleets beheld
The falling winds, and useless watery field.
There Pompey's daring powers attempt in vain
To plow their passage through th' unyielding main;
While, pinch'd by want, proud Cæsar's legions here
The dire distress of meagre famine fear.
With vows unknown before they reach the skies,
That waves may dash, and mounting billows rise; 650
That storms may with returning fury reign,
And the rụde ocean be itself again.
At length the still, the sluggish darkness fled,
And cloudy morning. rear'd its louring head.
The rolling flood the gliding navy bore,
And hills appear'd to pass upon the shore.
Attending breezes waft them to the land,
And Cæsar's anchors bite Palæste's strand.
In neighbouring camps the hostile chiefs sit down,
Where Genusus the swift, and Apsus run ;
660 Among th'ignobler croud of rivers, these Soon lose their waters in the mingling seas :
No mighty streams nor distant springs they know,
But rise from muddy lakes, and melting snow.
Here meet the rivals who the world divide,
Once by the tenderest bands of kindred ty’d.
The world with joy their interview beheld,
Now only parted by a single field.
Fond of the hopes of peace, mankind believe,
Whene'er they come thus near, they must forgive. 670
Vain hopes ! for soon they part to meet no more,
Till both shall reach the curst Ægyptian shore ;
Till the proud father shall in arms succeed,
And see his vanquish'd fon untimely bleed ;
Till he beholds his ashes on the strand,
Views his pale head within a villain's hand;
Till Pompey's fate shall Cæsar's tears demand.
The latter yet his eager rage restrains,
While Antony the lingering troops detains.
Repining much, and griev'd at war's delay,
Impatient Cæsar often chides his stay,
Oft he is heard to threat, and humbly oft to pray.
Still shall the world (he cries) thus anxious wait?
Still wilt thou stop the gods, and hinder fate?
What could be done before, was done by me:
Now ready fortune only stays for thee.
What holds thee then ? Do rocks thy course withstand ?
Or Libyan Syrts oppose their faithless strand ?
Or dost thou fear new dangers to explore ?
I call thee not, but where I pass'd before.
690 For all those hours thou lofest, I complain, And sue to heaven for prosperous winds in vain.
My soldiers (often has their faith been try'd)
If not withheld, had haften’d to my side.
What toil, what hazards will they not partake ? 695
What seas and shipwrecks scorn, for Cæsar's sake ?
Nor will I think the gods so partial are,
To give thee fair Ausonia for thy share ;
While Cæsar, and the senate, are forgot,
And in Epirus bound their barren lot.
In words like these, he calls him oft in vain,
And thus the hafty missives oft complain.
At length the lucky chief, who oft had found
What valt success his rather darings crown'd;
Who saw how much the favouring gods had done, 705
Nor would be wanting, when they urg'd him on ;
Fierce, and impatient of the tedious stay,
Refolves by night to prove the doubtful way :
Bold, in a single skiff, he means to go,
And tempt those seas that navies dare not plow. 710
'Twas now the time when cares and labour cease, And ev’n the rage of arms was hush'd to peace : Snatch'd from their guilt and toil, the wretched lay, And Nept the founder for the painful day. Through the still camp the night's third hour resounds, And warns the second watches to their rounds; When through the horrors of the murky shade, Secret the careful warriors footsteps tread. His train, unknowing, flept within his tent, And fortune only follow'd where he went.
720 With silent anger he perceiv’d, around, The fleepy sentinels bestrew the ground :
Yet, unreproving, now, he pass'd them o'er, ,
And fought with eager haste the winding shore.
There through the gloom, his searching eyes explor'd, 725
Where to the mouldering rock a bark was moor’d.
The mighty master of this little boat,
Securely slept within a neighbouring cot:
No maffy beanis support his humble hall,
But reeds and marshy ruthes wove the wall ; 730
Old shatter'd planking for a roof was spread,
And cover'd in from rain the needy Thed.
Thrice on the feeble door the warrior struck,
Beneath the blow the trembling dwelling shook. 734
What wretch forlorn (the poor Amyclas cries)
Driven by the raging seas, and stormy skies,
To my poor lowly roof for shelter flies ?
He spoke ; and hasty left his homely bed,
With oozy flags and withering sea-weed spread.
Then from the hearth the smoking match he takes, 740
And in the tow the drousy fire awakes ;
Dry leaves, and chips, for fuel, he supplies,
Till kindling Iparks and glittering flames arise.
Oh happy poverty! thou greatest good,
Bestow'd by heaven, but feldom understood ! 745
Here nor the cruel spoiler seeks his prey,
Nor ruthless armies take their dreadful way :
Security thy narrow limits keeps,
Safe are thy cottages, and sound thy sleeps.
Behold! ye dangerous dwellings of the great, 750
Where gods and godlike princes choose their feat;
See in what peace the poor Amyclas lies,
Nor starts, though Cæsar's call commands to rise.
What terrors had you felt, that call to hear !
How had your towers and ramparts shook with fear,
And trembled, as the mighty man drew near!
The door unbarr’d : Expect (the leader said)
Beyond thy hopes, or wishes, to be paid ;
If in this instant hour thou waft me o'er,
With speedy haste, to yon Hesperian fiore. 760
No more shall want thy weary hand constrain,
To work thy bark upon the boisterous main :
Henceforth good days and plenty shall betide ;
The gods and I will for thy age provide.
A glorious change attends thy low estate,
Sudden and mighty riches round the wait;
Be wise, and use the lucky hour of fate.
Thus he; and though in humble vestments dress’d;
ite of himself, his words his power expreis’d,
And Cæsar in his bounty stood confefs'd. 770
To him the wary pilot thus replies:
A thousand omens threaten from the skies;
A thousand boding signs my foul affright,
And warn me not to tempt the feas by night."
In clouds the setting fun obscur'd his head, 775
Nor painted o'er the ruddy weft with red :
Now north, now south, he shot his parted beams,
And tipp'd the sullen black with golden gleams :
Pale shone his middle orb with faintish rays,
And suffer'd mortal eyes at ease to gaze.
Nor rose the silver queen of night serene,
Supine and dull her blunted horns were seen,
With foggy stains and cloudy blots between.