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Nor views he, through the murky veil of night,
The Casian mountains far distinguish'd height,
The high-hung lantern, or the beamy light.
Hap'lý at leng the labouring canvas bore
Full on the fartheit bounds of Ægypt's shore,
Where near Pelufium parting Nile defcends,
And in her utmost eastern channel ends.
**Twas now the time, when equal Jove on high
Had hung the golden balance of the sky :
But, ah! not long such just proportions laft,
The righteous season soon was chang'd and pass’d;
And Spring's incroachment, on the shortening hade,
Was fully to the wintery nights repaid :
When to the chief from shore they made report,
That, near high Casium, lay the Pharian court.
This known, he thither turns his ready fail,
The light yet lasting with the favouring gale.
The fleet arriv’d, the news flies (wiftly round,
And their new guests the troubled court confound.
The time was short ; howe'er the council met,
Vile ministers, a monstrous motley set.
Of these, the chief in honour, and the best,
640 Was old Achorëus the Memphian prieft ; In Ilis and Omnis he beliey'd, And reverend tales, from fire to fon receiy'd ; Could mark the swell of Nile's increasing tide, And many an Apis in his time had dy'd; 645 Yet was his age with gentleit manners fraught, Humbly he spoke, and modeltly he taught. With good intent the pious seer arose, And told how much their state to Pompey owes :
Or think a name, like his, can cause thy fears :
What large amends their monarch ought to make, 650
Both for his own, and for his father's fake,
But fate had plac'd a subtler speaker there,
A tongue more fitted for a tyrant's ear,
Pothinus, deep in arts of mischief read,
Who thus, with false persuasion, blindly led
The easy king, to doom his guardian dead
To ftrictest justice many ills belong,
And honesty is often in the wrong:
Chiefly when stubborn rules her zealots push,
To favour those whom fortune means to crush. 660
But thou, oh royal Ptolemy! be wise ;
Change with the gods, and fly whom fortune flies.
Not earth, from yon high heavens which we admire,
Not from the watery element the fire,
Are severd by distinction half so wide,
As interest and integrity divide.
The mighty power of kings no more prevails,
When justice comes with her deciding scales.
Freedom for all things, and a lawlefs sword,
Alone support an arbitrary lord.
He that is cruel must be bold in ills,
And find his fafety from the blood he fpills.
For piety, and virtue's starving rules,
To mean retirements let them lead their fools :
There, may they still ingloriously be good ;
None can be safe in courts, who blush at blood.
Nor let this fugitive defpise thy years,
Exert thyself, and let him feel thy power,
And know, that we dare drive him from our shore. 680
But if thou wish to lay thy greatness down,
To some more just succession yield thy crown;
Thy rival fifter willingly thall reign,
And fave our Ægypt from a foreign chain.
As now, at first, in neutral peace we lay,
Nor would be Pompey's friends, nor Cæsar's prey.
Vanquish’d, where-e’er his fortune has been try'd,
And driv'n, with scorn, from all the world beside,
By Cæfar chac'd, and left by his allies,
To us a baffled vagabond he flies.
The poor remaining senate loath his fight,
And ruin'd monarchs curse his fatal flight :
While thoufand fantoms from th' unbury'd lain,
Who feed the vultures of Emathia's plain,
Disastrous still pursue him in the rear,
And urge his foul with horror and despair.
To us for refuge now he seeks to run,
And would once more with Ægypt be undone.
Rouse then, oh! Ptolemy, repress the wrong;
He thinks we have enjoy'd our peace too long :
And therefore kindly comes, that we may share
The crimes of laughter, and the woes of war.
His friendship shewn to thee suspicions draws,
And makes us seem too guilty of his cause :
Thy crown bestow'd, the victor may impute ;
The senate gave it, but at Pompey's suit.
Nor, Pompey! thou thyself shall think it hard,
If from thy aid, by fate, we are debarr’d.
We follow where the god, constraining, lead;
We strike at thine, but with 'twere Cæsar's head. 710
Our weakness this, this fate's compulsion call;
We only yield to him who conquers all.
Then doubt not if thy blood we mean to spill ;
Power awes us ; if we can, we must, and will.
What hopes thy fond mistaking soul betray'd, 715
To put thy trust in Ægypt's feeble aid?
Our lothful nation, long disus'd to toil,
With pain, suffice to till their slimy soil,
Our idle force due modesty should teach,
Nor dare to aim beyond its humble reach. 720
Shall we resiąt where Rome was forc'd to yield,
And make us parties to Pharsalia's field?
We mix'd not in the fatal strife before :
And shall we, when the world has given it o'er ?
Now! when we know th' avenging victor's power?
Nor do we turn, unpitying, from distress ;
We fly not Pompey's woes, but seek success.
The prudent on the prosperous ftill attends,
And none but fools choose wretches for their friends.
He said ; the vile allembly all assent,
And the boy-king his glad concurrence lent.
Fond of the royalty his Naves bestow'd,
And by new power of wickedness made proud.
Where Cafium high o'erlooks the shoaly strand,
A bark with armed ruffians straight is mann'd,
And the talk trusted to Achillas' hand.
Can then Ægyptian souls thus proudly dare !
Is Rome, ye gods! thus fall’n by Civil War !
Can you to Nile transfer the Roman guilt,
And let such blood by cowards hands be spilt ?
Some kindred murderer at least afford,
And let him fall by Cæsar's worthy sword,
And thoui, inglorious, feeble, beardless boy!
Dar'it thou thy hand in such a deed employ?
Does not thy trembling heart, with horror, dread 745
Jove's thunder, grumbling o'er thy guilty head ?
Had not his arms with triumphs oft been crown d,
And ev’n the vanquish'd world his conqueft own'd;
Had not the reverend senate call d him head,
And Cæfar given fair Julia to his bed,
He was a Roman stili: a name should be
For ever sacred to a king, like thee.
Ah, fool! thus blindly by thyself undone,
Thou seek's his ruin, who upheld thy throne:
He only could thy feeble power maintain, 7:5
thee first o’er Ægypt's realm to reign.
The seamen, now, advancing near to shore,
Strike the wide fail, and ply the plunging oar;
When the false miscreants the navy meet,
And with diffembled chear the Roman greet.
They feign their hospitable land address'd,
With ready friendship, to receive her guest;
Excusing much an inconvenient fore,
Where shoals lie thick, and meeting currents roar :
From his tall fip, unequal to the place, 765
They beg him to their lighter bark to pass.
Had not the gods, unchangeably, decreed
Devoted Pompey in that hour to bleed,
A thousand signs the danger near foretel,
Seen by his sad presaging friends too well.