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Why all these pains, this toil of fate (he cries)
This labour of the feas, and earth, and skies?
All nature and the gods, at once alarm’d,
Against my little boat and me are arm'd.
If, oh ye Powers Divine ! your will decrees
The glory of my death to these rude seas;
If warm, and in the fighting field to die,
If that, my first of wishes, you deny;
My soul no longer at her lot repines,
But yields to what your providence assigns.
Though immature I end my glorious days,
Cut short my conquest, and prevent new praise ;
My life, already, stands the noblest theme,
To fill long annals of recording fame.
Far northern nations own me for their lord,
And envious factions crouch beneath my sword;
Inferior Pompey yields to me at home,
And only fills a second place in Rome.
My country has my high behests obey'd,
And at my feet her laws obedient laid;
All sovereignty, all honours are my own,
Consul, dictator, I am all alone.
But thou, my only goddess, and my
Thou, on whom all my secret prayers attend,
Conceal, oh Fortune! this inglorious end.
Let none on earth, let none beside thee, know
I sunk thus poorly to the shades below.
Dispose, ye gods ! my carcase as you please,
Deep let it drown beneath these raging seas ;
I ask no urn my ashes to infold,
Nor inarble monuments, nor thrines of gold;
Let but the world, unknowing of my doom,
Expect me still, and think I am to come; 970
So Thall my name with terror still be heard,
And my return in every nation fear’d.
He spoke, and sudden, wondrous to behold,
High on a tenth huge wave his bark was rollid;
Nor sunk again, alternate, as before,
But rushing, lodg'd, and fix'd upon the shore.
Rome and his fortune were at once restor’d,
And earth again receiv'd him for her lord.
Now, through the camp his late arrival told,
The warriors croud, their leader to behold;
In tears, around, the murmuring legions stand,
And welcome him, with fond complaints, to land.
What means too-daring Cæfar (thus they cry)
To tempt the ruthless seas, and stormy sky ?
What a vile helpless herd had we been left,
Of every hope at once in thee bereft?
While on thy life so many thousands wait,
While nations live dependent on thy fate,
While the whole world on thee, their head, rely,
'Tis cruel in thee to consent to die.
And could'st thou not one faithful soldier find,
One equal to his mighty master's mind,
One that desery'd not to be left behind ?
While tumbling billows toft thee on the main,
We slept at ease, unknowing of thy pain, 99.5
Were we the cause, oh shame! unworthy we,
That urg'd thee on to brave the raging sea ?
Is there a slave whose head thou hold'ft so light,
To give him up to this tempestuous night?
While Cæsar, whom the subject earth obeys,
To seasons such as these, his facred self betrays.
Still wilt thou weary out indulgent heaven,
And scatter all the layih gods have given?
Dost thou the care of providence employ,
Only to save thee when the seas run high ? 1005
Auspicious Jove thy wishes would promote ;
Thou ask'st the safety of a leaky boat :
He proffers thee the world's supreme command;
Thy hopes aspire no farther than to land,
And cast thy shipwreck on th' Hesperian strand.
In kind reproaches thus they waste the night,
Till the gray east disclos'd the breaking light:
Serene the sun his beamy face display'd,
While the tir'd storm and weary waves were laid.
Speedy the Latian chiefs unfurl their fails,
And catch the gently-rising northern gales :
In fair appearance the tall vessels glide,
The pilots, and the wind, conspire to guide,
And waft them fitly o'er the smoother tide :
Decent they move, like some well-order'd band, 1020
In rang'd battalions marching o'er the land.
Night fell at length, the winds the fails forsook,
And a dead calm the beauteous order broke.
So when, from Strymon's wintery banks, the cranes,
In feather'd legions, cut th’ æthereal plains ; · 1025
To warmer Nile they bend their airy way,
Form'd in long lines, and rank'd in just array:
But if some rushing storm the journey cross,
The wingy leaders all are at a loss :
Now close, now loose, the breaking squadrons fly, 1030
And scatter in confusion o'er the sky.
The day return'd, with Phoebus Auster rose,
And hard upon the straining canvas blows.
Scudding afore him swift the fleet he bore,
O’er-passing Lyflus, to Nymphæum's fhore;
There safe from northern winds, within the port they
While thus united Cæsar's arms appear, And fortune draws the great decision near ; Sad Pompey's soul uneasy thoughts infest, And his Cornelia pains his anxious breaft. 1040 To distant Lesbos fain he would remove, Far from the war, the partner of his love. Oh, who can speak, what numbers can reveal, The tenderness, which pious lovers feel ? Who can their secret pangs and sorrows tell,
1045 With all the croud of cares that in their bosoms dwell? See what new passions now the hero knows, Now first he doubts success, and fears his foes ; Rome and the world he hazards in the strife, And gives up all to fortune, but his wife. 1050 Oft he prepares to speak, but knows not how, Knows they must part, but cannot bid her go ; Defers the killing news with fond delay, And, lingering, puts off Fate from day to day. The fleeting fhades began to leave the sky, And slumber soft forsook the drooping eye : When, with fond arms, the fair Cornelia prest Her lord, reluctant, to her snowy breast :
Wondering, the found he fhunnd her just embrace,
And felt warm tears upon his manly face. 1060
Heart-wounded with the sudden woe, the griev'd,
And scarce the weeping warrior yet believ'd.
When, with a groan, thus he : My trueit wife,
To say how much I love thee more than life,
Poorly expresses what my heart would show, 1065
Since life, alas ! is grown my burden now;
That long, too long delay'd, that dreadful doom,
That cruel parting hour at length is come.
Fierce, haughty, and colle&ted in his might,
Advancing Cæfar calls me to the fight.
Haste then, my gentle love, from war retreat;
The Lesbian ifle attends thy peaceful seat:
Nor seek, oh! seek not to increase my cares,
Seek not to change my purpose with thy prayers ;
Myself, in vain, the fruitless suit have try'd, 1075
And my own pleading heart has been deny’d.
Think not, thy distance will increase thy fear :
Ruin, if ruin comes, will soon be near,
Too soon the fatal news shall reach thy ear.
Nor burns thy heart with just and equal fires, 1080
Nor dot thou love as virtue's law requires;
If those soft eyes can ev’n thy husband bear,
Red with the stains of blood, and guilty war.
When horrid trumpets found their dire alarms,
Shall I indulge my sorrows with thy charms,
And rise to battle from these tender arms?
Thus mournful, from thee, rather let me go,
And join thy absence to the public woe.