« הקודםהמשך »
The moderate Sun; commanded to repair,
As vainly too Antiquity apply'd Th’Etesian winds to raise this wondrous tide, Which blow at stated seasons of the year For several days, and long possess the air; [fly Orthought vast clouds, which, driv'n before them, Beyond the South, discharg'd the burden'd sky On Nilus' head, and thence his current swell'd; Q: that those winds the river's course repell'd, Which stopp'd, and press'd by th' entering sea,
His banks, and issuing boils along the plains.
Some think vast pores, and gaps in earth abound, Where streams in silent veinscreep under ground, Led from the chilling North, the line to meet, When pointed beams direct on Meroe beat, While the parch'd earth a watery succour craves; Then Po and Ganges roll their smother'd waves Deep through the vaults beneath; and, Nile supDischarges at one vent their mingled tide, [ply'd, Nor can the gather'd flood in one straight channel ride. Some think the sea, which round all lands extends His liquid arms, these gushing waters sends; That length of course the saltness wears away; Or thus; since Phoebus and the stars, we say, Drink ocean's streams; when, near hot Cancer's The thirsty Sun a larger portion draws, [claws, That more than air digests, attracted so, Falls back by night, and causes Nile to flow.
Might I in so perplex'd a cause engage, I think, since Nature grew mature in age, Some waters, Caesar, have deriv'd their birth From veins by strong convulsions broke in earth ! And some coeval with the world began, And starting through appointed channels ran, When this whole frame th' Almighty Builder rear'd, Ordain’d its laws, and its first motions steer'd.
The kings of Greece, of Ægypt, and the East, Ardent like you, were with this wish possest, And every age has labour'd to attain The wondrous truth, but labour'd still in vain, For Nature lurks obscure, and mocks their pain. Philip's great son, whose consecrated name Memphis adores, the first in regal fame, Envious of this, detach'd a chosen band Torange th' extreme of AEthiopia's sand! They pass the scorching soil, and only view Where hotter streams their constant way pursue. The farthest west our great Sesostris saw, While harness'd kings his lofty chariot draw, Yet drauk your Rhodanus and Padus first At both their springs, ere Nile obey'd his thirst. Cambyses, mad with lust of power to o'er-run The long-liv'd nations of the rising Sun,
To promis'd spoils a numerous army led;
First from the Southern pole thy stream we trace, Which rolling forward with a speedy pace, Under hot Cancer is directly driven Against Bootes' wain, far in the north of Heaven. Yet winding in thy course from east to west, Arabia now, now Libya's sands are blest With thy cool flood; which first the Seres spy, Yet seek thee too; thy current, rolling by, Through Æthiopia next, a stranger, flows. Nor can the world perceive to whom it owes Thy sacred birth, which Nature hid from all, Lest any nation should behold thee small, And, covering deep thy infant head, requir'd That none should find what is by all admir’d.
Thou, by a law to other streams unknown, In summer's solstice o'er thy banks art thrown, And bring'st in thy full tide a winter of thy own. To thee alone’tis given thy waves to roll Athwart the globe, enlarg'd to either pole; These nations seek thy fountain, these would trace Thy gulph. With spacious arms thou dost embrace Hot Meroe, fruitful to a sooty race, And proud of ebon woods; yet no retreat Their useless shades afford to shun th’ excessive
Hence shaken Abatos first feels thy rage,
While thus secure, as if no danger nigh, Till Night's black steeds had travell'd half the sky, They pass the hours of rest, Pothinus' mind
From brooding mischief can no leisure find. F
“Go, sluggard, to thy bed of down, and steep Thy heavy eyelids in luxurious sleep While Cleopatra does the court invade, And Pharos is not privately betray'd, But giv'n away; dost thou alone forbear To grace the nuptials of thy mistress here 2 Th’ incestuous sister shall her brother wed, Ally'd already to the Roman's bed. And sharing both by turns ; MEgypt's her hire, Already paid, and Rome she may require. Could Cleopatra's sorceries decoy Ev’n Caesar's age, and shall we trust a boy 2 Whom if one night she fold within her arms, Drunk with lewd joys, and fascinating charms, Whatever pious name the crime allay, Between each kiss, he'll give our heads away, And we by racks or flames must for her beauty In this distress Fate no relief allows; [pay, Casar's her lover, and the king her spouse: And she herself, no doubt, the doom has past On us, and all who would have left her chaste. But by the deed which we together shard, In vain, if not by new attempts repair’d, By that strict league a hero's blood has bound, Bring speedy war, and all their joys confound, Rush boldly on ; with slaughter let us stain Their nuptial torch; the cruel bride be slain Ev’n in her bed, and which soe'er supplies In present turn the husband's place, he dies. Nor Caesar's name our purpose shall appall; Fortune's the common mistress of us all, And she, that lifts him now above mankind, Courted by us, may be to us as kind. We share his brightest glory, and are great By Pompey's death, as he by his defeat. Look on the shore, and read good omens there, And ask the bloody waves what we may dare. Behold what tomb the wretched trunk supplies, Half hid in sand, half naked to the skies' Yet this was Caesar's equal whom we slew : And doubt we then new glory to pursue? Grant that our birth's obscure; yet, shall we need Kings, or rich states confederate to the deed 2
No, Fate's our own, and Fortune in our way,
To mischief swift, Achillas seon obey'd
Forgetful of their country and their fame,
Oh wretched Rome! where'er thy Fagle flies,
Not for the son or father now they fight; A base born-slave can civil arms excite, Achillas mingles in the Roman strife; And, had not Fate protected Caesar's life, These had prevail'd : each villain ready stood, This waits without, and that within, for blood. The court, dissolv’d in feasting, open lay To treacherous snares, a careless easy prey. Then o'er the royal cups had Casar bled, And on the board had fall'n his sever'd head. But lest, amid the darkness of the night, Their swords unconscious, in the huddled fight, Might slay the king, the slaves awhile took breat And slipp'd the important hour of Caesar's death They thought to make him soon the loss repay, And fall a sacrifice in open day. One night is given him; by Pothinus’ grace He sees the Sun once more renew his race.
Now the fair morning-star began to show The sign of day from Cassia's lofty brow, And ev'n the dawn made sultry Egypt glow,
When, from afar, the marching troops appear,
Yet Cesar, that unequal arms might cease, Suspends his fury, and essays a peace. A herald from the king is sent, t' assuage His rebel servants, and upbraid their rage, And, in their absent tyrant's name, t' inquire The secret author of this kindled fire. Bit, scornful of reproach, th’ audacious crew The sacred laws of nations overthrew, And for his speech the royal envoy slew. Inhuman deed ' that swells the guilty score Of Frypt’s monsters, well increas'd before. Not Thessaly, not Juba's savage train, Pharmaces' impious troops, not cruel Spain, Nor Pontus, nor the Syrtes' barbarous land, Lar'd an attempt like this voluptuous band.
Th’ attack is form'd, the palace closely pent; Huge javelins to the shaken walls are sent, A storm of flying spears; yet, from below, No battering rams resistless drive the blow, No engine's brought, no fires; the giddy crowd It parties roam, and, with brute clamours loud,
In several bands their wasted strength divide, And here and there to force an entrance try’d; In vain, for Fortune fights on Caesar's side.
Then, where the palace, 'midst surrounding waves, Projects luxuriant, and their fury braves, The ships too their united force apply, And swiftly hurl the naval war on high, Yet, present every where with sword or fire, Caesar th' approaches guards, and makes the foes
To all by turns he brings successful aids,
Inverts the war, and, though besieg'd, invades.
Fireballs, and torches drest with unctuous spoil
Nor thus suffic'd, the flames from thence aspire, And seize the buildings with contagious fire. Swift o'er the roofs, by winds increas'd, they fly; So shooting meteors blaze along the sky, And lead their wandering course with sudden glare, By sulphurous atoms fed in fields of thinnest air.
Affighted crowds the growing ruin view; To save the city from the siege they flew, When Caesar, wont the lucky hour to choose Of sudden chance in war, and wisely use, Lost not in slothful rest the favouring night, But shipp'd his men, and sudden took his flight. Pharos he seiz'd, an island heretofore, When prophet Proteus Egypt's sceptre bore, Now by a chain of moles contiguous to the shore. Here Caesar's arms a double use obtain; Hence from the straiten'd foe he bars the main, While to his friends th’ important harbour lies A safe retreat, and open to supplies. Nor longer now the doom suspended stands, Which justice on Pothinus’ guilt demands. Yet not as guilt, unmatch'd like his, requires, Not by the shameful cross, or torturing fires, Nor torn by ravenous beasts, the howling wretch
- expires. The sword, dishonour'd, did his head divide, And by a fate like Rome's best son he dy'd. Arsinoe now, by well-concerted snares, 'Scap'd from the palace, to the foe repairs; The trusty Ganymede assists her flight, Then o'er the campshe claim'd a sovereign's right; Her brother absent, she assumes the sword, And frees the tyrant from his household lord: By her just hand Achillas meets his fate, Rebel accurs'd' in blood and mischief great! Another victim, Pompey, to thy shade; But think not yet the full atonement made, Though Fgypt's king, though all the royal line, Should fall, thy murmuring ghost would still repine; Still unreveng'd thy murder would remain, Till Caesar's purple life the senate's swords shall stain.
Nor does the swelling tempest yet subside. The chief remov’d that did its fury guide, To the same charge bold Ganymede succeeds, Prosperous awhile in many hardy deeds. So long th' event of war in balance lay, So great the dangers of that doubtful day,
That Caesar from that lay alone might claim Immortal wreaths, and all the warrior's fame,
Now, while to quit the straiten'd mole he strove, And to the vacant ships the fight remove, War's utmost terrouns press on every side; Before the strand besieging navies ride; Behind, the troops advance. No way is seen To escape, or scarce a glorious death to win. No room with slaughter'd foes to strew the plain, And bravely fall amidst a pile of slain. A captive to the place he now appears, Doubtful if death should move his hope, or fears.
In this distress, a sudden thought inspir'd
*** Here the original poem breaks off abruptly, having becn left unfinished by the author.