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Strike home, he cries, and let your swords erase
The curs'd destroyer spoke ; and, at the word,
Say thou! thy finking country's only prop, Glory of Rome, and liberty's last hope ; What helm, oh Brutus ! could, amidst the croud, Thy sacred undistinguish'd visage Throud ? Where fought thy arm that day? But, ah ! forbear! Nor rush unwary on the pointed spear; Seek not to halten on untimely fate,
850 But patient for thy own Emathia wait : Nor hunt fierce Cæsar on this bloody plain, To-day thy steel pursues his life in vain. Somewhat is wanting to the tyrant yet, To make the measure his crimes complete; As yet he has not every law defy'd, Nor reach'd the utmost heights of daring pride. Ere long thou shalt behold him Rome's proud lord, And ripen’d by ambition for thy sword : Then, thy griev'd country vengeance shall demand, 860 And ask the victim at thy righteous hand.
Among huge heaps of the Patrician Nain, And Latian chiefs, who strew'd that purple plain, Recording story has distinguish'd well, How brave, unfortunate Domitius fell. In every loss of Pompey still he shar'd, And dy'd in liberty, the best reward ; Though vanquish'd oft by Cæsar, ne'er enslav'd, Ev'n to the last, the tyrant's power he brav'd : Mark'd o'er with many a glorious streaming wound, 870 In pleasure sunk the warrior to the ground; No longer forc'd on vilest terms to live, For chance to doom, and Cæsar to forgive. Him, as he pass’d insulting o'er the field, Rolld in his blood, the victor proud beheld : And can, he cry’d, the fierce Domitius fall, Forsake his Pompey, and expecting Gaul? Must the war lose that still successful sword, And my neglected province want a lord ? He spoke; when, lifting slow his closing eyes, 880 Fearless the dying Roman thus replies : Since wickedness stands unrewarded yet, Nor Cæsar's arms their wish'd success have met; Free and rejoicing to the shades I
go, And leave my chief still equal to his foe; And if my hopes divine thy doom aright, Yet shalt thou bow thy vanquilh'd head ere night. Dire punithments the righteous gods decree, For injur'd Rome, for Pompey, and for me; In hell's dark realms thy tortures I shall know, 890 And hear thy ghost lamenting loud below.
He said ; and soon the leaden Neep prevailid,
But, oh! what grief the ruin can deplore !
905 Some in their breasts erect the javelin bear, Some cling to earth with the transfixing spear. Here, like a fountain, springs a purple flood, Spouts on the foe, and stains his arms with blood. There horrid brethren on their brethren prey; 910 One starts, and hurls a well-known head away. While some detested son, with impious ire, Lops by the shoulders close his hoary fire : Ev'n his rude fellows damn the cursed deed, And bastard-born the murderer aread.
915 No private house its loss lamented then, But count the Nain by nations, not by men. Here Grecian streams, and Asiatic run, And Roman torrents drive the deluge on. More than the world at once was given away, And late posterity was lost that day,
A race of future slaves receiv'd their doom,
'Tis just; and Fortune, that impos'd a lord,
But Pompey, now, the fate of Rome descry'd, 935
940 Nor wish'd he, like most wretches in despair, The world one common mnisery might share : But with a generous, great, exalted mind, Befought the gods to pity poor mankind, To let him die, and leave the rest behind : This hope came smiling to his anxious breast, For this his earnest vows were thus address'd. Spare man, ye gods ! oh, let the nations live! Let me be wretched, but let Rome survive. Or if this head suffices not alone, My wife, my sons, your anger shall atone :
If blood the yet unsated war demand,
So faying, the tumultuous field he cross’d,