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When she had purchased at so vast a price
Peace from the chief,1 the joys of such a peace
A feast proclaimed. There in full pomp the Queen
Displayed her luxuries, as yet unknown
To Roman manners. Spacious rose the hall
Like to such fane as this corrupted age
Shall scarcely rear: the lofty ceiling shone
With richest tracery, the beams were bound
In golden coverings; no scant veneer
Lay on its walls, but built in solid blocks
Of marble, gleamed the palace. Agate stood
In sturdy columns, bearing up the roof;
Onyx and porphyry on the spacious floor
Were trodden 'neath the foot; the mighty gates
Of Maroe's ebony throughout were formed,
No mere adornment; ivory clothed the hall,
Studded with emerald spots; upon the doors
Gleamed polished tortoise shells from Indian seas:
And gems of price and yellow jasper shone
On couch and coverlet, whose greater part
Dipped more than once within the vats of Tyre
Had drunk their juice; and part were feathered gold;
Part crimson dyed, in manner as are passed
Through Pharian leash the threads. There waited slaves
In number as a people, some in ranks
By different blood distinguished, some by age;
This band with Libyan, that with auburn hair
Red so that Caesar on the banks of Rhine
None such had witnessed; some with features scorched
By torrid suns, their locks in twisted coils
Drawn from their foreheads. Eunuchs too were there,
Unhappy race; and on the other side
Men of full age whose cheeks with growth of hair
Were hardly darkened.
Upon either hand
Lay kings, and Caesar in the midst supreme.
There in her fatal beauty lay the Queen
Thick daubed with unguents, nor with throne content
Nor with her brother spouse; laden she lay
On neck and hair with all the Red Sea spoils,
And faint beneath the weight of gems and gold.
Her snowy breast shone through Sidonian lawn
Which woven close by shuttles of the East
The art of Nile had loosened. Ivory feet
Bore citron tables brought from woods that wave2
On Atlas, such as Caesar never saw
When Juba was his captive. Blind in soul
By madness of ambition, thus to fire
By such profusion of her wealth, the mind
Of Caesar armed, her guest in civil war!
Not though he aimed with pitiless hand to grasp
The riches of a world; not though were here
Those ancient leaders of the simple age,
Fabricius or Curius stern of soul,
Or he who, Consul, left in sordid garb
His Tuscan plough, could all their several hopes
Have risen to such spoil. On plates of gold
They piled the banquet sought in earth and air
And from the deepest seas and Nilus' waves,
Through all the world; in craving for display,
No hunger urging. Frequent birds and beasts,
Egypt's high gods, they placed upon the board:
In crystal goblets water of the Nile
They handed, and in massive cups of price
Was poured the wine; no juice of Mareot grape,3
But noble vintage of Falernian growth
Which seasons few in Meroe's famous vats
Had mellowed as with age. Upon their brows
Chaplets were placed of roses ever young
With glistening nard entwined; and in their locks
Was cinnamon infused, not yet in air
Its fragrance perished, nor in foreign climes;
And rich amomum from the neighbouring fields.
Thus Caesar learned the booty of a world
To lavish, and his breast was shamed of war
Waged with his son-in-law, from whose defeat
His spoils were meagre, and he longed to find
A cause of battle with the Pharian realm.
When of the banquet and of wine and feast
They wearied and their pleasure found an end,
Caesar drew out in colloquy the night
Thus with Achoreus, on the highest couch
With linen ephod as a priest begirt:
'O thou devoted to all sacred rites,
'Loved by the gods, as proves thy length of days,
'Tell, if thou wilt, whence sprang the Pharian race;
'How lie their lands, the manners of their tribes,
'The form and worship of their deities.
'Expound the sculptures on your ancient fanes:
'Reveal your gods if willing to be known:
'If to th' Athenian sage your fathers taught
'Their mysteries, who worthier than I
' To bear in trust the secrets of the world?
' True, by the rumour of my kinsman's flight
' Here was I drawn; yet also by your fame:
' And even in the midst of war's alarms
' The stars and heavenly spaces have I conned;
'Nor shall Eudoxus' year 4 excel mine own.
' But though such ardour burns within my breast,
' Such zeal to know the truth, yet my chief wish
' To learn the source of your mysterious flood
' Through ages hidden : give me certain hope
' To see the fount of Nile-and civil war
' I quit for ever.' He spake, and then the priest:

1 Reading 'ducis' (Francken).

2 Book IX., 507.

3 Yet the Mareot grape was greatly celebrated. (See Professor Rawlinson's note to Herodotus, ii, 18.)

4 The calendar introduced by Caesar, in B.C. 45, was founded on the Egyptian or solar year. (See Herodotus, ii., 4.) Eudoxus seems to have dealt with this year and to have corrected it. He is probably alluded to by Virgil, 'Eclogue' iii., 41.

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