Графични страници
PDF файл
ePub

In vain the warlike trumpet's dreadful sound
Has rouz'd the universe to arms around;
Vain was the shock of nations, if they owsi,
Now, any power on earth but mine alone.
If hither to your impious shores I came,

1815 'Twas to assert at once my power and fame ; Left the pale fury Envy should have said, Your crimes I damn'd not, or your arms I fled. Nor think to fawn before me and deceive; I know the welcome you prepare to give.

1820 Theffalia's field preserves me from your hate, And guards the victor's head from Pompey's fate. What ruin, Gods ! attended on my arms, What dangers unforeseen! what waiting harms ! Pompey, and Rome, and exile, were my fear; See yet a fourth, see Ptolemy appear ! The boy-king's vengeance loiters in the rear. But we forgive his youth, and bid him know Pardon and life's the most we can beftow. For you, the meaner herd, with rites divine, 1830 And pious cares, the warrior's head infhrine : Atone with penitence the injur'd shade, And let his ashes in their urn be laid ; Pleas’d, let his ghost lamenting Cæfar know, And feel my presence here, ev’n in the realms below. 1835 Oh, what a day of joy was lost to Rome, When hapless 'Pompey did to Ægypt come! When, to a father and a friend unjust, He rather chose the Pharian boy to trust. The wretched world that loss of peace fhall rue, 1840 Of peace, which from our friendship might ensue :

But

}

But thus the gods their hard decrees have made;
In vain, for peace, and for repose, I pray'd.;
In vain implor'd, that wars and rage might end,
That, suppliant-like, I might to Pompey bend,
Beg him to live, and once more be

my

friend.
Then had my labours met their just reward,
And, Pompey, thou in all my glories shar'd;
Then, jars and enmities all past and gone,
In pleasure had the peaceful years rollid on; 1850
All should forgive, to make the joy complete ;
Thou shouldst thy harder fate, and Rome my wars forget.

Fast falling still the tears, thus spoke the chief,
But found no partner in the specious grief.
Oh! glorious liberty ! when all shall dare
A face, unlike their mighty lord, to wear!
Each in his breast the rising sorrow kept,
And thought.it safe to laugh, though Cæfar wept.

1855

LUCAN

LUCAN’S PHARSALI A.

BOOK

X.

THE

ARGUMENT.

Cæsar, upon his atrival in Ægypt, finds Ptolemy

engaged in a quarrel with his lifter Cleopatra ; whom, at the instigation of Photinus, and his other evil counsellors, he had deprived of her share in the kingdom, and imprisoned: she finds means to escape, comes privately to Cæsar, and puts herself under his protection. Cæsar interposes in the quarrel, and reconciles them. They in return entertain him with great magnificence and luxury at the Royal Palace in Alexandria. At this feast Cæsar, who at his first arrival had visited the tomb of Alexander the Great, and whatever else was curious in that city, enquires of the chief priest Achoreos, and is by him informed of the course of the Nile, its stated increase and decrease, with the several causes that had been till that time assigned for it. In the mean time Photinus writes privately to Achillas, to draw the army to Alexandria, and surprize Cæfar; this he immediately performs, and helieges the palace. But Cæfar, having set the city and many of the Ægyptian fhips on fire, escapes to the island and tower of Pharos, carrying the young king and Photinus, whom he still kept in his power with him ; there having discovered the treachery of Photinus, he puts him to death. At the same time Arsinoë, Ptolemy's younger sister, having by the advice of her tutor, the eunuch Ganymedes, arsumed the regal authority, orders Achillas to be killed likewise, and renews the war against Cæsar.

Upon

Upon the mole between Pharos and Alexandria he is encompassed by the enemy, and very near being flain, but at length breaks through, leaps into the sea, and with his usual courage and good fortune swims in fafety to his own fleet.

,

}

то

QON as the victor reach'd the guilty shore,

Yet red with stains of murder'd Pompey's gore, New toils his still prevailing fortune met, By impious Ægypt's genius hard beset. The strife was now, if this detested land Should own imperial Rome's fupreme command, Or Cæfar bleed beneath fome Pharian hand. But thou, oh Pompey! thy diviner shade, Came timely to this cruel father's aid; Thy influence the deadly sword withstood, Nor suffer'd Nile, again, to blush with Roman blood. Safe in the pledge of Pompey, llain so late, Proud Cæsar enters Alexandria's gate : Ensigns on high the long proceffion lead ; The warrior and his armed train succeed. Meanwhile, loud-murmuring, the moody throng Behold his Fafces borne in ftate along : Of innovations fiercely they complain, And scornfully reject the Roman reign. Soon saw the chief th' untoward bent they take, And found that Pompey fell not for his fake. Wisely, howe'er, he did his secret fear, And held his way, with well-dissembled chear. Careless, he runs their gods and temples o'er, The monuments of Macedonian power; Ff

But

15

20

25

But neither god, nor shrine, nor mystic rite,
Their city, nor her walls, his soul delight:
Their caves beneath his fancy chiefly led,
To search the gloomy manfions of the dead :
Thither with secret pleasure he defcends,

30 And to the guide's recording tale attends.

There the vain youth who made the world his prize,
That prosperous robber, Alexander, lies.
When pitying death, at length, had freed mankind,
To facred rest his bones were here consign'd : 35
His bones, that better had been toss'd and hurl'd,
With just contempt, around the injur'd world.
But Fortune spar'd the dead ; and partial Fate,
For

ages, fix'd his Pharian empire's date.
If e’er our long-lost liberty return,
That carcase is reserv'd for public scorn:
Now, it remains a monument confeft,
How one proud man could lord it o'er the rest.
To Macedon, a corner of the earth,
The vast ambitious spoiler ow'd his birth :

45 There, soon, he scorn'd his father's humbler reign, And view'd his vanquish'd Athens with disdain. Driv'n headlong on, by Fate's resistless force, Through Asia's realms he took his dreadful course : His ruthless sword laid Human Nature waste,

50 And desolation follow'd where he pass’d. Red Ganges blush'd, and fam’d Euphrates' flood, With Persian this, and that with Indian blood. Such is the bolt which angry Jove employs, When, undistinguishing, his wrath destroys ; 55

Such

40

« ПредишнаНапред »