IKNEW, when I begat him, he must die,
And train’ed him to no other destiny, —
Knew, when I sent him to the Trojan shore,
’Twas not to halls of feats, but fields of gore.
YOUR gold I ask not; take your ransoms home;
Warriors, not trafficers in war, we come;
Not gold, but steel, our strife should arbitrate,
And valour prove which is the choice of fate.
The brave, whose lives the battle spar’d, with me
Shall never mourn the loss of liberty.
Unransom’d then your comrades hence remove,
And may the mighty gods the boon approve!.*
HEEDLESS of what a censuring world might say,
One man restor’d the state by wise delay;
Hence time has hallow’d his immortal name,
And, with increasing years, increas’d his fame.
FORTH on the tribune, like a shower,
the gathering javelins spring,
His buckler pierce — or on its boss
the quivering lances ring —
Or rattle on his brazen helm;
but vain the utmost might
Of foes, that press on every side, —
none can the tribune smite.
And many a spear he shivers then,
and many a stroke bestows,
While with many a jet of reeking sweat
his labouring body flows.
No breathing time the tribune has —
no pause — the winded iron,
The Istrian darts, in ceaseless showers,
provoke him and environ:
And lance and sling destruction bring
on many heroes stout,
Who tumble headlong from the wall,
within it, or without.
FOR no Marsian augur, (whom fools view with awe,)
Nor diviner, nor star-gazer, care I a straw;
The Egyptian quack, an expounder of dreams,
Is neither in science nor art what he seems;
Superstitious and shameless, they prowl through our streets,
Some hungry, some crazy, but all of them cheats.
292 Impostors! who vaunt that to others they’ll show
A path, which themselves neither travel nor know.
Since they promise us wealth if we pay for their pains,
Let them take from that wealth, and bestow what remains
YES! there are gods; but they no thought bestow
On human deeds, — on mortal bliss or woe, —
Else would such ills our wretched race assail?
Would the Good suffer? — would the Bad prevail?
WHO know not leisure to employ,
Toil more than those whom toils employ;
For they, who toil with purpos’d mind,
In all their labours pleasure find;
But they, whose time no labours fill,
Have in their minds nor wish nor will.
— So ’tis with us, call’d far form home,
Nor yet to fields of battle come,
We hither march, we thither sail,
Our minds as veering as the gale.
THE heaven’s vast world stood silent; Neptune gave
A hushful pause to ocean’s roughening wave;
The sun curb’d his swift steeds; th’ eternal floods
Stood still; and not a breath was on the woods.
SWEET smil’d the Olympian Father from above,
And the hush’d storms return’d his smile of love!
SACK’D, but not captive, — burn’d, but not consum’d, —
Nor yet, on Dardan plains, to perish doom’d.
HIS friend he call’d, — who at his table far’d,
And all his counsels and his converse shar’d;
With whom he oft consum’d the day’s decline
In talk of petty schemes or great design, —
To him with ease and freedom uncontroll’d,
His jests and thoughts, or good or ill, were told;
Whate’er concern’d his fortunes was disclos’d,
And safely in that faithful breast repos’d.
This chosen friend possess’d a stedfast mind,
Where no base purpose could its harbour find;
Mild, courteous, learn’d, with knowledge blest and sense.
A soul serene, contentment, eloquence;
Fluent in words or sparing, well he knew
All things to speak in place and season due;
His mind was amply graced with ancient lore,
Nor less enrich’d with modern wisdom’s store:
Him, while the tide of battle onward press’d
Servilius call’d. . . . . . . . .