Изображения страниц
PDF
EPUB

The clofing ranks the warrior straight enfold,
And, compass’d in their steely circle, hold. 310
Undaunted still, around the ring he roams,
Fights here and there, and every where o'ercomes ;
Till, clogg’d with blood, his sword obeys but ill
The dictates of its vengeful master's will;
Edgeless it falls, and though it pierce no more,

315
Still breaks the batter'd bones, and bruises fore.
Mean time, on him, the crouding war is bent,
And darts from every hand, to him are sent :
It look d as fortune did in odds delight,
And had in cruel sport ordain'd the fight;

320 A wondrous match of war she seem'd to make, Her thousands here, and there her one to stake; As if on nightly terms in lists they ran, And armies were but equal to the man. A thousand darts upon his buckler ring,

325 A thousand javelins round his temples sing; Hard bearing on his head, with many a blow, His steely helm is inward taught to bow. The missive arms, fix'd all around, he wears, And ev'n his safety in his wounds he bears, Fenc'd with a fatal wood, a deadly grove of spears. Cease, ye Pompeian warriors ! cease the strife, Nor, vainly, thus attempt this single life; Your darts, your idle javelins cast aside, And other arms for Scæva's death provide : 335 The forceful rams resistless horns prepare, With all the ponderous vast machines of war;

Let

}

}

341

Let dreadful flames, let maffy rocks be thrown,
With engines thunder on, and break him down,
And win this Cæsar's soldier, like a town.
At length, his fate disdaining to delay,
He hurls his shield's neglected aid away,
Resolves no part whate’er from death to hide,
But stands unguarded now on every side.
Incumber'd fore with many a painful wound, 345
Tardy and stiff he treads the hostile round;
Gloomy and fierce his eyes the croud survey,
Mark where to fix, and single out the prey.
Such, by Getulian hunters compass’d in,
The vast unwieldy elephant is seen :

350
All cover'd with a steely shower from far,
Rouzing he shakes, and sheds the scatter'd war;
In vain the distant troops the fight renew,
And with fresh rage the stabborn foe pursue ;
Unconquer'd still the mighty favage ftands, 355
And scorns the malice of a thousand hands.
Not all the wounds a thousand darts can make,
Though all find place, a fingle life can take.
When lo! addrest with some successful vow,
A Maft, sure flying from a Cretan bow,
Beneath the warrior's brow was seen to light,
And sunk, deep piercing the left orb of light.
But he (so rage inspir'd, and mad disdain)
Remorseless fell, and senseless of the pain,

364 Tore forth the bearded arrow from the wound, With stringy nerves besmeard and wrapp'd around, And kamp'd the gory jelly on the ground,

360

}

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

}

So in Pannonian woods the growling bear,
Transfix’d, grows fiercer for the hunter's spear,
Turns on her wound, runs madding round with pain,
And catches at the flying shaft in vain.
Down from his eyeless hollow ran the blood,
And hideous o'er his mangled visage flow'd ;
Deform'd each awful, each feverer grace,
And veil'd the manly terrors of his face.

375
The victors raise their joyful voices high,
And with loud triumph strike the vaulted sky:
Not Cæfar thus a general joy had spread,
Though Cæsar's self like Scæva thus had bled.
Anxious, the wounded soldier, in his breast,
The rising indignation deep represt,
And thus, in humble vein, his haughty foes addrest:
Here let your rage, ye Romans, cease, he said,
And lend

your
fellow-citizen

your
No more your darts nor useless javelins try
These, which I bear, will deaths enow supply,
Draw forth your weapons, and behold I die.
Or rather bear me hence, and let me meet
My doom beneath the mighty Pompey's feet :
"Twere great, ’twere brave, to fall in arms, 'tis true,
But I renounce that glorious fate for you.
Fain would I yet prolong this vital breath,
And quit even Cæsar, so I fly from death.

The wretched Aulus listen’d to the wile,
Intent and greedy of the future spoil ;

395
Advancing fondly on, with heedless ease,
He thought the captive and his arms to seize,

S

When,

aid ;

}

When, ere he was aware, his thundering sword
Deep in his throat the ready Scæva gor’d.
Warm’d with the slaughter, with fresh rage he burns,
And vigour with the new success returns.
So may they fall (he faid) by just deceit,
Such be their fate, such as this fool has met,
Who dare believe that I am vanquish'd yet!
If
you
would stop the vengeance

of

my sword, From Cæsar's mercy be your peace implor'd, There let your leader kneel, and humbly own his lord. Me! could you meanly dare to fancy, me Base, like yourselves, and fond of life to be! But know, not all the names which grace your cause, Your reverend fenate, and your boasted laws, Not Pompey's self, not all for which you fear, Were e'er to you, like death to Scæva, dear.

Thus while he spoke, á rising dust betray'd Cæsarian legions marching to his aid.

415 Now Pompey's troops with prudence seem to yield, And to increasing numbers quit the field; Diffembling shame, they hide their foul defeat, Nor vanquish'd by a single arm retreat. Then fell the warrior, for till then he stood;

420 His manly mind supply'd the want of blood. It seem'd as rage had kindled life anew, And courage to oppose, from opposition grew, But now, when none were left him to repel, Fainting for want of foes, the victor fell.

425 Straight with officious haste his friends draw near, And, raising, joy the noble load to bear :

T.

}

To reverence and religious awe inclin'd,
Admiring, they adore his mighty mind,
That god within his mangled breast inshrin'd.
The wounding weapons, stain'd with Scæva's blood,
Like façred relics to the gods are vow'd :
Forth are they drawn from every part with care,
And kept to dress the naked God of War.
Oh! happy soldier, had thy worth been try'd,
In pious daring, on thy country's fide!
Oh! had thy sword Iberian battles known,
Or purple with Cantabrian Naughter grown;
How had thy name in deathless annals thone !
But now no Roman Pæan shalt thou fing,

440
Nor peaceful triumphs to thy country bring,
Nor loudly blest in solemn pomp shalt move,
Through crouding streets, to Capitolian Jove,
The laws defender, and the people's love :
Oh, hapless victor thou ! oh, vainly brave !

445 How haft thou fought, to make thyself a Nave !

Nor Pompey, thus repuls’d, the fight declines,
Nor rests encompass'd round by Cæsar's lines;
Once more he means to force his warlike way,
And yet retrieve the fortune of the day.

450
So when fierce winds with angry ocean strive,
Full on the beach the beating billows drive ;
Stable awhile the lofty mounds abide,
Check the proud furge, and stay the fwelling tide :
Yet restless still the waves unweary'd roll, 455
Work underneath at length, and fap the finking mole.
With force renew'd the baffled warrior bends,
Where to the shore the jutting wall extends :

There

[ocr errors]

S 2

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »