Графични страници
PDF файл


Now either host the middle plain had pass’d, And front to front in threatening ranks were plac’d; Then every well known feature stood to view, Brothers their brothers, sons their fathers knew. 685 Then first they feel the curse of civil hate, Mark where their mischiefs are affign’d by fate, And see from whom themselves destruction wait. Stupid awhile, and at a gaze, they stood, While creeping horror froze the lazy blood : 690 Some small remains of piety withstand, And stop the javelin in the lifted hand; Remorse for one short moment step'd between, And motionless, as statues, all were seen. And oh! what savage fury could engage, While lingering Cæfır yet suspends his rage ? For him, ye gods! for Craftinus, whose spear With impious eagerness began the war, Some more than common punishment prepare ; Beyond the grave long lasting plagues ordain, 700 Surviving fenfe, and never ceasing pain. Straight, at the fatal signal, all around A thousand fifes, a thousand clarions, found; Beyond where clouds, or glancing lightnings fly, The piercing clangors strike the vaulted sky. 705 The joining battles shout, and the loud peal Bounds from the hill, and thunders down the vale ; Old Pelion's caves the doubling roar return, And Oeta's rocks and groaning Pindus mourn; From pole to pole the tumult spreads afar,

710 And the world trembles at the distant war.



Now flit the thrilling darts through liquid air, And various vows from various matters bear : Some seek the noblest Roman heart to wound, And some to err upon the guiltless ground; 715 While chance decrees the blood that shall be spilt, And blindly scatters innocence and guilt. But random shafts too scanty death afford, A civil war is business for the sword : Where face to face the parricides may meet,

720 Know whom they kill, and make the crime complete.

Firm in the front, with joining bucklers clos’d, Stood the Pompeian infantry difpos'd; So crouded was the space, it scarce affords The power to toss their piles, or yield their swords. 72.5 Forward, thus thick embattled though they stand, With headlong wrath rush furious Cæsar's band; In vain the lifted field their rage retards, Or plaited mail devoted bosoms guards; Through Mields, through mail, the wounding weapons go,

730 And to the heart drive home each deadly blow; Oh rage ill match'd! Oh much unequal war, Which those wage proudly, and these tamely bear ! These, by cold, stupid piety disarm’d: Those, by hot blood, and smoking Naughter warm’d.735 Nor in suspense uncertain fortune hung, But yields, o'er-master'd by a power too strong, And borne by fates impetuous stream along.

From Pompey's ample wings, at length the horse Wide o’er the plain extending take their course; 740



X 4

Wheeling around the hostile line they wind,
While lightly arm’d the shot succeed behind.
In various ways the various bands engage,
And hurl upon the foe the missile rage;
There fiery darts and rocky fragments fly, 745
And heating bullets whistle through the sky :
Of feather'd shafts, a cloud thick shading goes,
From Arab, Mede, and Ituræan bows :
But driven by random aim they feldom wound;
At first they hide the heaven, then strew the ground; 750
While Roman hands unerring mischief send,
And certain deaths on every pile attend.

But Czesar, timely careful to support
His wavering front against the first effort,
Had plac'd his bodies of reserve behind,

755 And the strong rear with chosen cohorts lin’d. There, as the careless foe the fight pursue, A sudden band and stable forth he drew; When foon, oh shame! the loose barbarians yield, Scattering their broken squadrons o’er the field,

760 And shew, too late, that saves attempt in vain, The sacred cause of freedom to maintain, The fiery steeds, impatient of a wound, Hurl their neglected riders to the ground; Or on their friends with rage ungovern'd turn, 765 And trampling o'er the helpless foot are borne. Hence foul confusion and dismay succeed, The victors murder, and the vanquish'd bleed : Their weary hands the tir'd destroyers ply, Scarce can theft kill, so fast as those can die. 770


[ocr errors]


Oh, that Emathia's ruthless guilty plain
Had been contented with this only stain ;
With these rude bones had strewn her verdure o’er,
And dy'd her springs with none but Asian gore!
But if so keen her thirst for Roman blood, 775
Let none but Romans make the slaughter good;
Let not a Mede nor Cappadocian fall,
No bold Iberian, nor rebellious Gaul:
Let these alone survive for times to come,
And be the future citizens of Rome.
But fear on all alike her powers employ'd,
Did Cæsar's business, and like fate destroy’d.

Prevailing still the victors held their course,
Till Pompey's main reserve oppos’d their force ;
There, in his strength, the chief unshaken stond, 785
Repell’d the foe, and made the combat good;
There in suspence th' uncertain battle hung,
And Cæsar's favouring goddess doubted long ;
There no proud monarchs led their vassals on,
Nor eastern bands in gorgeous purple shone ;
There the last force of laws and freedom lay,
And Roman patriots struggled for the day.
What parricides the guilty scene affords !
Sires, sons, and brothers, rush on mutual swords !

sacred bond of nature bleeds ;
There met the war's worst rage, and Cæsar's blackest

But, oh! my Muse, the mournful theme forbear,
And stay thy lamentable numbers here ;
Let not iny verse to future times convey,
What Rome committed on this dreadful day; 800





In shades and silence hide her crimes from fame,
And spare thy miserable country's shame.

But Cæsar's rage shall with oblivion strive,
And for eternal infamy survive.
From rank to rank, unweary'd, still he flies,
And with new fires their fainting wrath supplies.
His greedy eyes each sign of guilt explore,
And mark whose sword is deepest dy'd in gore ;
Observe where pity and remorse prevail,
What arm strikes faintly, and what cheek turns pale, 810
Or, while he rides the slaughter'd heaps around,
And views some foe expiring on the ground,
His cruel hands the gushing blood restrain,
And strive to keep the parting soul in pain :
As when Bellona drives the world to war, 815
Or Mars comes thundering in his Thracian car ;
Rage horrible darts from his Gorgon fhield,
And gloomy terror broods upon the field;
Hate, fell and fierce, the dreadful gods impart,

urge the vengeful warrior's heaving heart : 820 The many sout, arms clash, the wounded cry, And one promiscuous peal groans upwards to the sky, Nor furious Cæsar, on Emathia's plains, Less terribly the mortal strife sustains ; Each hand unarm'd he fills with means of death, 825 And cooling wrath rekindles at his breath : Now with his voice, his gesture now, he strives, Now with his lance the lagging soldier drives : The weak he strengthens, and confirms the strong, And hurries war's impetuous stream along. 830

« ПредишнаНапред »