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Nor, Cæfar, thou disdain, that I rehearse
Thee, and thy wars, in no ignoble verse ;
Since, if in aught the Latian Muse excel,
My name, and thine, immortal I foretel;
Eternity our labours shall reward,
And Lucan flourish, like the Grecian bard;
My numbers shall to latest times convey
The tyrant Cæfar, and Pharsalia's day.
When long the chief his wondering eyes had caft, On ancient monuments of ages past;
1670 Of living turf an altar straight he made, Then on the fire rich gums and incense laid, And thus, fuccessful in his vows, he pray’d. Ye shades divine! who keep this sacred place, And thou, Æneas ! author of my race,
1675 Ye powers, whoe'er from burning Troy did come, Domestic gods of Alba, and of Rome, Who still preserve your ruin'd country's name, And on your altars guard the Phrygian flame : And thoni, bright maid, who art to men deny’d; Pallas, who dost thy facred priviledge confide To Rome, aud in her inmoft temple hide i Hear, and auspicious to my vows incline, To me, the greatest of the Julian line: Prosper my future ways; and lo! I vow 1685 Your ancient state and honours to bestow; Ausonian hands shall Phrygian walls restore, And Rome repay, what Troy conferr'd before. He said; and hasted to his feet away, Swift to repair the loss of this delay.
Up Sprung the wind, and, with a freshening gale;
The kind north-west fill'd every swelling fail ;
Light o'er the foamy waves the navy flew,
THI Asia's fhores and Rhodes no more they vicw.
Six times the night her fable round had made,
The seventh now passing on, the chief survey'd
High Pharos shining through the gloomy shade;
The coast descry'd, he waits the rising day,
Then safely to the port directs his way.
There wide with crouds o'erspread he sees the shore,
And echoing hears the loud tumultuous roar.
Distrustful of his fate, he gives command
To stand aloof, nor trust the doubted land ;
When lo! a messenger appears, to bring
A fatal pledge of peace from Ægypt's king: 1705
Hid in a veil, and closely cover'd o’er,
Pompey's pale visage in his hand he bore.
An impious orator the tyrant sends,
Who thus, with fitting words, the monstrous gift com-
Hail ! first and greatest of the Roman name; 1710
In power molt mighty, most renown'd in fame ::
Hail! rightly now, the world's unrival'd lord !
That benefit thy Pharian friends afford.
My king bestows the prize thy armıs have fought,
For which Pharsalia's field, in vain, was fought. 1715
No talk remains for future labours now;
The civil wars are finish'd at a blow.
To heal Theffalia's ruins, Pompey fled
To us for succour, and by us lies dead.
'Thee, Cæfar, with this costly pledge we buy, 1720
Thee to our friendship, with this victim, tie.
Ægypt's proud sceptre freely then receive,
Whate'er the fertile flowing Nile can give :
Accept the treasures which this deed has spar'd;
Accept the benefit, without reward.
Deign, Cæsar! deign to think my royal lord
Worthy the aid of thy victorious sword :
In the first rank of greatness shall he stand ;
He, who could Pompey's destiny command.'
Nor frown disdainful on the proffer'd spoil, 1730
Because not dearly bought with blood and toil;
But think, oh think, what sacred ties were broke;
How friendship pleaded, and how nature spoke :
That Pompey, who restor’d Auletes' crown,
The father's ancient guest was murder'd by the son. 1735
Then judge rhyfelf, or ask the world and fame,
If services like these deserve a name.
If gods and men the daring deed abhor;
Think, for that reafon, Cæfar owes the more ;
This blood for thee, though not by thee, was spilt; 1740
Thou hast the benefit, and we the guilt.
He said, and straight the horrid gift unveil'd, And stedfast to the gazing victor held. Chang'd was the face, deform’d with death all o'er, Pale, ghastly, wan, and stain'd with clotted gore, Unlike the Pompey Cæsar knew before. He, nor at first disdain'd the fatal boon, Nor started from the dreadful sight too soon. Awhile his eyes the murderous scene endure, Doubting they view ; but shun it, when secure. 1750
At length he stood convinc'd, the deed was done ;
He saw 'twas safe to mourn his lifeless fon :
And straight the ready tears, that staid till now,
Swift at command with pious semblance flow :
As if detesting, from the sight he turns,
And groaning, with a heart triumphant mourns.
He fears his impious thought the be descry'd,
And seeks in tears the fwelling joy to hide.
Thus the curft Pharian tyrant's hopes were croft,
Thus all the merit of his gift was loft;
Thus for the murder Cæsar's thanks were spar'd;
He chose to mourn it, rather than reward.
He who, relentless, through Pharsalia rode,
And on the senate's mangled fathers trode;
He who, without one pitying sigh, beheld 1765
The blood and Naughter of that woeful field;
Thee, murder'd Pompey, could not ruthless fee,
But pay'd the tribute of his grief to thee.
Oh mystery of fortune, and of fate !
Oh ill-conforted piety and hate !
1770 And canst thou, Cæsar, then thy tears afford, To the dire object of thy vengeful sword ? Didit thou, for this, devote his hoftile head, Pursue him living, to bewail him dead ? Could not the gentie ties of kindred move ? 1775 Wert thou not touch'd with thy fad Julia's love ? And weep'st thou now? dost thou these tears provide To win the friends of Poinpey to thy side? Perhaps, with fecret rage thcu dost repine, That he should die by any hand but thine :
Thence fall thy tears, that Ptolemy has done
A murder, due to Cæsar's hand alone.
What secret springs foe'er these currents know,
They ne'er, by piety, were taught to flow.
Or didst thou kindly, like a careful friend, 1785
Pursue him flying, only to defend ?
Well was his fate deny'd to thy command !
Well was he snatch'd by fortune from thy hand !
Fortune withheld this glory from thy name,
Forbad thy power to save, and spar'd the Roman shame.
Still he goes on to vent his griefs aloud, 1791 And artful, thus, deceives the easy croud.
Hence from my sight, nor let me see thee more ;
Haste, to thy king his fatal gift restore.
At Cæfar have you aim'd the deadly blow,
And wounded Cæsar worse than Pompey now;
The cruel hands by which this deed was done,
Have torn away the wreaths my sword had won,
That noblest prize this civil war could give,
The victor's right to bid the vanquish'd live,
1800 Then tell your king, his gift shall be repay'd; I would have sent him Cleopatra's head ; But that he wishes to behold her dead. How has he dar'd, this Ægypt's petty lord, To join his murders to the Roman sword ?
1805 Did I, for this, in heat of war, distain With noblest blood Emathia's purple plaing To licence Ptolemy's pernicious reign? Did I with Pompey fçorn the world to share ? And can I an Ægyptian partner bear ?