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And nerveless fear. The slave's asylum theirs:
Or flight, ill-judging, that the timid back
Turns weak to slaughter; or partaken guilt.
In vain from Sylla's vanity I drew
An unexampled deed. The power resign'd,
And all unhop'd the common-wealth restor’d,
Amaz'd the public, and effac'd his crimes. [hand
Through streets yet streaming from his murderous
Unarm'd he stray'd, unguarded, unassail'd,
And on the bed of peace his ashes laid ;
A grace, which I to bis demission gave.
But with him dy'd not the despotic soul.
Ambition saw that stooping Rome could bear
A master, nor had virtue to be free.
Hence, for succeeding years, my troubled reign
No certain peace, no spreading prospect knew.
Destruction gather'd round. Still the black soul,
Or of a Catiline, or Rullus 14, swelld
With fell designs; and all the watchful art
Of Cicero demanded, all the force,
All the state-wielding magic of his tongue;
And all the thunder of my Cato’s zeal.
With these I lingerd; till the flame anew
Burst out in blaze immense, and wrapt the world.
The shameful contest sprung; to whom mankind
Should yield the neck : to Pompey, who conceald
A rage impatient of an equal name;
Or to the nobler Cæsar, on whose brow
O’er daring vice deluding virtue smild,
And who no less a vain superior scorn'd.
Both bled, but bled in vain. New traitors rose.
The venal will be bought, the base have lords.
To these vile wars I left ambitious slaves;
And from Philippis field, from where in dust
The last of Romans, matchless Brutus ! lay,
Spread to the north untam'd a rapid wing.
What though the first smooth Cæsars arts caress'd,
Merit, and virtue, simulating me?
Severely, tender! cruelly humane !
The chain to clinch, and make it softer sit
On the new-broken still ferocious state.
From the dark Third ', succeeding, I beheld
The imperial monsters all.—A race on earth
Vindictive, sent the scourge of human-kind !
Whose blind profusion drain’d a bankrupt world ;
Whose lust to forming nature seems disgrace;
And whose infernal rage bade every drop
Of ancient blood, that yet retain’d my flame,
To that of Pætus 16, in the peaceful bath,
Or Rome's affrighted streets, inglorious flow.
But almost just the meanly-patient death,
That waits a tyrant's unprevented stroke.
Titus indeed gave one short evening gleam;
More cordial felt, as in the midst it spread
Of storm, and horror. The delight of men!
He who the day, when his o'erflowing hand
Had made no happy heart, concluded lost;
Trajan and he, with the mild sire ?? and son,
His son of virtue! eas'd awhile mankind;
And arts reviv'd beneath their gentle beam.
Then was their last effort : what sculpture rais’d
To Trajan's glory, following triumphs stole;
And mix'd with Gothic forms, (the chisel's shame,)
On that triumphal arch 8, the forms of Greece.
Meantime o'er rocky Thrace, and the deep vales
Of gelid Hæmus, I pursu'd my flight;
And, piercing farthest Scythia, westward swept
Sarmatia ", travers’d by a thousand streams.
A sullen land of lakes, and feps immense,
Of rocks, resounding torrents, gloomy heaths,
And cruel deserts black with sounding pine ;
Where nature frowns: though sometimes into smiles
She softens; and immediate, at the touch
Of southern gales, throws from the sudden glebe
Luxuriant pasture, and a waste of flowers.
But, cold-comprest, when the whole loaded heaven
Descends in snow, lost in one white abrupt,
Lies undistinguish'd earth; and, seiz’d by frost,
Lakes, headlong streams, and floods, and oceans
sleep. Yet there life glows; the furry millions there Deep-dig their dens beneath the sheltering snows: And there a race of men prolific swarms, To various pain, to little pleasure us’d; On whom, keen-parching, beat Riphæan winds ; Hard like their soil, and like their climate fierce, The nursery of nations !--These I rous'd, Drove land on land, on people people pour'd; Till from almost perpetual night they broke,
As if in search of day; and o'er the banks
Of yielding empire, only slave-sustain'd,
Resistless rag'd, in vengeance urg'd by me.
Long in the barbarous heart the bury'd seeds
Of Freedom lay, for many a wintry age;
And though my spirit work'a, by slow degrees,
Nought but its pride and fierceness yet appear’d.
Then was the night of time, that parted worlds.
I quitted earth the while. As when the tribes
Aërial, warn’d of rising winter, ride
Autumnal winds, to warmer climates borne;
So, arts and each good genius in my train,
I cut the closing gloom, and soard to heaven.
In the bright regions there of purest day,
Far other scenes, and palaces, arise,
Adorn'd profuse with other arts divine.
All beauty here below, to them compar'd,
Would, like a rose before the mid-day sun,
up its blossom; like a bubble break
The passing poor magnificence of kings.
For there the King of Nature, in full blaze,
Calls every splendour forth ; and there his court,
Amid etherial powers, and virtues, holds :
Angel, archangel, tutelary gods,
Of cities, nations, empires, and of worlds.
But sacred be the veil, that kindly clouds
A light too keen for mortals; wraps a view
Too softening fair, for those that here in dust
Must cheerful toil out their appointed years.
A sense of higher life would only damp
The school-boy's task, and spoil his playful hours.
Nor could the child of Reason, feeble man,
With vigour through this infant being drudge;
Did brighter worlds, their unimagin'd bliss
Disclosing, dazzle and dissolve his mind.”