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Thence the wide dreary plains one visage wear,
Alike in summer, winter, spring appear,
Nor feel the turns of the revolving year. .
Thin herbage here (for some ev'n here is found)
The Nasamonian hinds.collect around;
A naked race, and barbarous of mind,
That live upon the losses of mankind :
'The Syrts supply their wants and barren foil,
And strow th’ unhospitable shores with spoil.
Trade they have none, but ready ftill they stand,
Rapacious, to invade the wealthy ftrand,
Through this dire country Cato's journey lay,
Here he pursued, while Virtue led the way.
Here the bold youth, led by his high command,
Fearless of storms and raging winds, by land 765
Repeat the dangers of the swelling main,
And strive with storms and raging winds again.
Here all at large, where nought restrains his force;
Impetuous Auster runs his rapid course;
Nor mountains here, nor stedfast rocks refift,
But free he sweeps along the spacious lifta
No stable groves of ancient oaks arise,
To tire his rage, and catch him as he flies;
But wide, around, the naked plains appear,
Here fierce he drives unbounded through the air,
Roars and exerts his dreadful empire here.
The whirling dust, like waves in eddies wrought,
Rising aloft, to the mid heaven is caught;
There hangs a sullen cloud; nor falls againg,
Nor breaks, like gentle vapours, into rain.
Gazing, the poor inhabitant defcries,
Where high above his land and cottage flies ;
Bereft, he sees his loft poffeffions there,
From earth transported, and now fix'd in air.
Not rising flames attempt a bolder flight;
Like smoke by rising flames uplifted, light
The sands ascend, and stain the heavens with night.
But now, his utmost
The stormy god invades the Roman hoft;
The soldier yields, unequal to the shock,
790. And ftaggers at the wind's ftupendous stroke. Amaz’d he sees that earth, which lowly lav, Forc'd from beneath his feet, and torn away. Oh Libya ! were thy pliant surface bound, And form’d a solid, close-compacted ground; 795 Or hadit thou rocks, whose hollows deep below Would draw those ranging winds that loosely blow; Their fury, by thy firmer mass oppos’d, Or in those dark infernal caves inclos'd, Thy certain ruin would at once cornplete, 800 Shake thy foundations, and unfix thy feat : But well thy fitting plains have learn’d to yield; Thus, not contending, thou thy place haft held, Unfix'd art fix'd, and flying keep ft the field. Helms, spears and ihields, snatch'd from the warlike host, Through heaven's wide regions far away were tost; While distant nations, with religious fear, Beheld them, as some prodigy in air, * And thought the gosts by them denounc'd a war. Such haply was the chance, which first did raise 810 The pious tale, in prieitly Numa's days;
Such were those shields, and thus they came from heaven,
A sacred charge to young patricians given;
Perhaps, long since, to lawless winds a prey,
From far barbarians were they forc'd away;
Thence through long airy journeys safe did come,
To cheat the croud with miracles at Rome,
Thus, wide o'er Libya, rag'd the stormy south,
Thus every way affail'd the Latian youth:
Each several method for defence they try,
Now wrap their garments tight, now close they lie :
Now finking to the earth, with weight they press,
Now clasp it to them with a strong embrace,
Scarce in that posture fafe; the driving blast
Bears hard, and almost heaves them off at last.
Meantime a fandy flood comes rolling on,
And swelling heaps the proftrate legions drown;
New to the sudden danger, and dismay’d,
The frighted soldier hasty calls.for aid,
Heaves at the hill, and struggling rears his head.
Soon Thoots the growing pile, and, rear'd on high,
Lifts up its lofty suminit to the sky:
High sandy walls, like forts, their passage stay,
And rising mountains intercept their way :
The certain bounds which should their journey guide,
The moving earth and dusty deluge hide ;
So landmarks fink beneath the flowing tide.
As through mid seas uncertainly they move,
Led only by. Jove's facred lights above :
Part ev'n of them the Libyan clime denies,
Forbids their native northern Itars to rise,
And shades the well-known lustre from their eyes.
Now near approaching to the burning zone, To warmer, calmer skies they journey'd on. The flackening storms the neighbouring fun confefs, The heat strikes fiercer, and the winds grow less, Whilst parching thirft and fainting fweats increase. As forward on the weary way they went, Panting with drought, and all with labour spent, Amidst the desert, defolate and dry, One chanc'd a little trickling spring to spy : Proud of the prize, he drain’d the scanty store, And in his helmet to the chieftain' bore. Around, in crouds, the thirsty legions stood, Their throats and clamıny jaws with dust bestrew'd, And all with wishful eyes the liquid treasure view'd. Around the leader cast his careful look, Sternly the tempting envy'd gift 'he took, Held it, and thus the giver-fierce bespoke : And think'st thou then that I want Virtue moft! 860 Am I the meanest of this Roman host ! Am I the first foft coward that complains ! That shrinks, unequal to these glorious pains! Am I in ease and infamy the first ! Rather be thou, base as thou art, accursid, Thou that dar'st drink, when all beside thee thirst. He said ; and wrathful Itretching forth his hand, "Pour'd out the precious draught upon the fand. Well did the water thus for all provide, Envy'd by none, while thus to all deny'd, A little thus the general want fupply'd.
Now to the facred temple they draw near, Whose only altars Libyan lands revere ;
There, but unlike the Jove by Rome ador'd,
A form uncouth, stands heaven's Almighty Lord. 875
No regal ensigns grace his potent hand,
Nor shakes he there the lightning's flaming brand;
Biit, ruder to behold, a horned ram
Belies the god, and Ammon is his name.
There though he reigns' unrival'd and alone,
O’er the rich neighbours of the Torrid Zone.;
Though swarthy Æthiops are to him confind,
With Araby the blest, and wealthy Inde;
Yet. no proud domes are rais’d, no gems are seen,
To blaze upon his thrines with costly sheen ;
But plain and pour, and unprophan’d he stood,
Such as, to whom our great fore-fathers bow'd :
A god of pious times, and days of old,
That keeps his temple safe from Roman gold.
Here, and here only, through wide Libya's space, 890
Tall trees, the land, and verdant herbage grace ;
Here the loose fands by plenteous springs are bound,
Knit to a mass, and moulded into ground:
Here smiling nature wears a fertile dress,
And all things here the present god confėss.
Yet here the sun to neither pole declines,
But from his zenith-vertically shines :
Hence, ev'n the trees no friendly shelter yield,
Scarce their own trunks the leafy branches shield;
descend direct, all round embrace,
And to a central point the fhadow chace.
Here equally the middle line is found,
To cut the radiant Zodiac in its round;