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M. Annaeus Lucanus, Pharsalia (ed. Sir Edward Ridley), book 1, line 1 (search)
crime let loose we sing: how Rome's high race
Plunged in her vitals her victorious sword;
Armies akin embattled, with the force
Of all the shaken earth bent on the fray;
And burst asunder, to the common guilt,
A kingdom's compact; eagle with eagle met,
Standard to standard, spear opposed to spear.
Whence, citizens, this rage, this boundless lust
To sate barbarians with the blood of Rome?
Did not the shade of Crassus, wandering still,Crassus had been defeated and slain by the Parthians in B.C. 53, fouryears before this period.
Cry for his vengeance? Could ye not have spoiled,
To deck your trophies, haughty Babylon?
Why wage campaigns that send no laurels home?
What lands, what oceans might have been the prize
Of all the blood thus shed in civil strife!
Where Titan rises, where night hides the stars,
'Neath southern noons with fiery rays aflame,
Or where keen frost that never yields to spring
In icy fetters binds the Scythian main:
Long since barbarian Araxes' stream,
And all the distan