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Nor on this hand
Repulsed, Pompeius idly ceased from war,
Content within his bars; but as the sea
Tireless, which tempests force upon the crag
That breaks it, or which gnaws a mountain side
Some day to fall in ruin on itself;
He sought the turrets nearest to the main,
On double onset bent; nor closely kept
His troops in hand, but on the spacious plain
Spread forth his camp. They joyful leave the tents
And wander at their will. Thus Padus flows
In brimming flood, and foaming at his bounds,
Making whole districts quake; and should the bank
Fail 'neath his swollen waters, all his stream
Breaks forth in swirling eddies over fields
Not his before; some lands are lost, the rest
Gain from his bounty.
Hardly from his tower
Had Caesar seen the fire or known the fight:
And coming found the rampart overthrown,
The dust no longer stirred, the ruins cold
As from a battle done. The peace that reigned
There and on Magnus' side, as though men slept,
Their victory won, aroused his angry soul.
Quick he prepares, so that he end their joy
Careless of slaughter or defeat, to rush
With threatening columns on Torquatus' post.
But swift as sailor, by his trembling mast
Warned of Circeian tempest, furls his sails,
So swift Torquatus saw, and prompt to wage
The war more closely, he withdrew his men
Within a narrower wall.
Now past the trench
Were Caesar's companies, when from the hills
Pompeius hurled his host upon their ranks
Shut in, and hampered. Not so much o'erwhelmed
As Caesar's soldiers is the hind who dwells
On Etna's slopes, when blows the southern wind,
And all the mountain pours its cauldrons forth
Upon the vale; and huge Enceladus 1
Writhing beneath his load spouts o'er the plains
A blazing torrent. Blinded by the dust,
Encircled, vanquished, ere the fight, they fled
In cloud of terror on their rearward foe,
So rushing on their fates. Thus had the war
Shed its last drop of blood and peace ensued,
But Magnus suffered not, and held his troops
Back from the battle.
Thou, O Rome, hadst been
Free, happy, mistress of thy laws and rights
Were Sulla here. Now shalt thou ever grieve
That in his crowning crime, to have met in fight
A pious kinsman, Caesar's vantage lay.
Oh tragic destiny! Nor Munda's fight
Hispania had wept, nor Libya mourned
Encrimsoned Utica, nor Nilus' stream,
With blood unspeakable polluted, borne
A nobler corse than her Egyptian kings:
Nor Juba 2 lain unburied on the sands,
Nor Scipio with his blood outpoured appeased
The ghosts of Carthage; this had been thy last
Disaster, Rome; nor had the blameless life
Of Cato ended: and Pharsalia's name
Had so been blotted from the book of fate.
But Caesar left the region where his arms
Had found the deities adverse, and marched
His shattered columns to Thessalian lands.
Then to Pompeius came (whose mind was bent
To follow Caesar wheresoe'er he fled)
His captains, striving to persuade their chief
To seek Ausonia, his native land,
Now freed from foes. 'Ne'er will I pass,' he said,
' My country's limit, nor revisit Rome
' Like Caesar, at the head of banded hosts.3
' Hesperia when the war began was mine;
' Mine, had I chosen in our country's shrines,
' In midmost forum of her capital,
' To join the battle. So that banished far
' Be war from Rome, I'll cross the torrid zone
' Or those for ever frozen Scythian shores.
What! shall my victory rob thee of the peace
I gave thee by my flight? Rather than thou
Shouldst feel the evils of this impious war,
'Let Caesar deem thee his.' He turned his course
Towards the uprising sun, and sought by paths
Remote, and forests wide, the land by fate
Foredoomed to see the issue of the war.
Thessalia on that side where Titan first
Raises the wintry day, by Ossa's rocks
Is prisoned in: but in th' advancing year
When higher in the vault his chariot rides
'Tis Pelion that meets the morning rays.
And when beside the Lion's flames he drives
The middle course, Othrys with woody top
Screens his chief ardour. On the hither side
Pindus receives the breezes of the west
And as the evening falls brings darkness in.
There too Olympus, at whose foot who dwells
Nor fears the north nor sees the shining bear.
Between these mountains hemmed, in ancient time
The fields were marsh, for Tempe's pass not yet
Was cleft, to give an exit to the streams
That filled the plain: but when Alcides' hand
Smote Ossa from Olympus at a blow,4
And Nereus wondered at the sudden flood
Of waters to the main, then on the shore
(Would it had slept for ever 'neath the deep)
Seaborn Achilles' home Pharsalus rose;
And Phylace 5 whence sailed that ship of old
Whose keel first touched upon the beach of Troy;
And Dorion mournful for the Muses' ire
On Thamyris 6 vanquished: Trachis; Melibe
Strong in the shafts 7 of Hercules, the price
Of that most awful torch; Larissa's hold
Potent of yore; and Argos,8 famous erst,
O'er which men pass the ploughshare: and the spot
Fabled as Echionian Thebes,9 where once
Agave bore in exile to the pyre
(Grieving 'twas all she had) the head and neck
Of Pentheus massacred. The lake set free
Flowed forth in many rivers: to the west
AEas,10 a gentle stream; nor stronger flows
The sire of Isis ravished from his arms;
And Achelous, rival for the hand
Of OEneus' daughter, rolls his earthy flood 11
To silt the shore beside the neighbouring isles.
Evenus 12 purpled by the Centaur's blood
Wanders through Calydon: in the Malian Gulf
Thy rapids fall, Spercheius: pure the wave
With which Amphrysos 13 irrigates the meads
Where once Apollo served: Anaurus 14 flows
Breathing no vapour forth; no humid air
Ripples his surface: and whatever stream,
Nameless itself, to Ocean gives its waves
Through thee, Peneus:15 whirled in eddies foams
Apidanus; Enipeus lingers on
Swift only when fresh streams his volume swell:
And thus Asopus takes his ordered course,
Phoenix and Melas; but Eurotas keeps
His stream aloof from that with which he flows,
Peneus, gliding on his top as though
Upon the channel. Fable says that, sprung
From darkest pools of Styx, with common floods
He scorns to mingle, mindful of his source,
So that the gods above may fear him still.
Soon as were sped the rivers, Boebian ploughs
Dark with its riches broke the virgin soil;
Then came Lelegians to press the share,
And Dolopes and sons of AEolus
By whom the glebe was furrowed. Steed-renowned
Magnetians dwelt there, and the Minyan race
Who smote the sounding billows with the oar.
There in the cavern from the pregnant cloud
Ixion's sons found birth, the Centaur brood
Half beast, half human: Monychus who broke
The stubborn rocks of Pholoe, Rhoetus fierce
Hurling from OEta's top gigantic elms
Which northern storms could hardly overturn;
Pholus, Alcides' host: Nessus who bore
The Queen across Evenus' 16 waves, to feel
The deadly arrow for his shameful deed;
And aged Chiron 17 who with wintry star
Against the huger Scorpion draws his bow.
Here sparkled on the land the warrior seed; 18
Here leaped the charger from Thessalian rocks 19
Struck by the trident of the Ocean King,
Omen of dreadful war; here first he learned,
Champing the bit and foaming at the curb,
Yet to obey his lord. From yonder shore
The keel of pine first floated,20 and bore men
To dare the perilous chance of seas unknown:
And here Ionus ruler of the land
First from the furnace molten masses drew
Of iron and brass; here first the hammer fell
To weld them, shapeless; here in glowing stream
Ran silver forth and gold, soon to receive
The minting stamp. 'Twas thus that money came
Whereby men count their riches, cause accursed
Of warfare. Hence came down that Python huge
On Cirrha: hence the laurel wreath which crowns
The Pythian victor: here Aloeus' sons
Gigantic rose against the gods, what time
Pelion had almost touched the stars supreme,
And Ossa's loftier peak amid the sky
Opposing, barred the constellations' way.
4 See Book VIII., line 1.
6 Thamyris challenged the Muses to a musical contest, and being vanquished, was by them deprived of sight.
7 The arrows given to Philoctetes by Hercules as a reward for kindling his funeral pyre.
9 Book I., line 635; Book VII., line 913. Agave was a daughter of Cadmus, and mother of Pentheus, king of the Boeotian Thebes. He was opposed to the mysterious worship of Dionysus, which his mother celebrated, and which he had watched from a tree. She tore him to pieces, being urged into a frenzy and mistaking him for a wild beast. She then retired to another Thebes, in Phthiotis, in triumph, with his head and shoulders. By another legend she did not leave the Boeotian Thebes. (See Grote, vol. i., p. 220. Edit. 1862.)
12 The god of this river fought with Hercules for the hand of Deianira. After Hercules had been married to Deianira, and when they were on a journey, they came to the River Evenus. Here Nessus, a Centaur, acted as ferryman, and Hercules bade him carry Deianira across. In doing so he insulted her, and Hercules shot him with an arrow.
13 Admetus was King of Pherae in Thessaly, and sued for Alcestis, the daughter of Pelias, who promised her to him if he should come in a chariot drawn by lions and boars. With the assistance of Apollo, Admetus performed this. Apollo, for the slaughter of the Cyclops, was condemned to serve a mortal, and accordingly he tended the flocks of Admetus for nine years. The River Amphrysos is marked as flowing into the Pagasean Gulf at a short distance below Pherae.
15 The River Peneus flowed into the sea through the pass of Tempe, cloven by Hercules between Olympus and Ossa (see line 406); and carried with it Asopus, Phoenix, Melas, Enipeus, Apidanus, and Titaresus (or Eurotas).The Styx is generally placed in Arcadia, but Lucan says that Eurotas rises from the Stygian pools, and that, mindful of this mysterious source, he refuses to mingle his streams with that of Peneus, in order that the gods may still fear to break an oath sworn upon his waters.
16 See on line 429.
17 Chiron, the aged Centaur, instructor of Peleus, Achilles, and others. He was killed by one of the poisoned arrows of Hercules, but placed by Zeus among the stars as the Archer, from which position he appears to be aiming at the Scorpion. His constellation appears in winter.
19 Poseidon and Athena disputed as to which of them should name the capital of Attica. The gods gave the reward to that one of them who should produce the thing most useful to man; whereupon Athena produced an olive tree, and Poseidon a horse. Homer also places the scene of this event in Thessaly. (Iliad, xxiii., 247.)
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