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But now upon the shore a numerous band
From Mitylene thus approached the chief:
'If 'tis our greatest glory to have kept
' The pledge with us by such a husband placed,
' Do thou one night within these friendly walls
' We pray thee, stay; thus honouring the homes
' Long since devoted, Magnus, to thy cause.
This spot in days to come the guest from Rome
' For thee shall honour. Nowhere shalt thou find
' A surer refuge in defeat. All else
' May court the victor's favour; we long since
' Have earned his chastisement. And though our isle
' Rides on the deep, girt by the ocean wave,
' No ships has Caesar: and to us shall come,
' Be sure, thy captains, to our trusted shore,
' The war renewing. Take, for all is thine,
' The treasures of our temples and the gold,
' Take all our youth by land or on the sea
' To do thy bidding: Lesbos only asks
' This from the chief who sought her in his pride,
' Not in his fall to leave her.' Pleased in soul
At such a love, and joyed that in the world
Some faith still lingered, thus Pompeius said:
Earth has for me no dearer land than this.
' Did I not trust it with so sweet a pledge
' And find it faithful? Here was Rome for me,
' Country and household gods. This shore I sought
' Home of my wife, this Lesbos, which for her
' Had merited remorseless Caesar's ire:
' Nor was afraid to trust you with the means
' To gain his mercy. But enough-through me
'Your guilt was caused-I part, throughout the world
'To prove my fate. Farewell thou happiest land!
'Famous for ever, whether taught by thee
' Some other kings and peoples may be pleased
' To give me shelter; or shouldst thou alone
Be faithful. And now seek I in what lands
' Right may be found or wrong. My latest prayer
'Receive, 0 deity, if still with me
'Thou bidest, thus. May it be mine again,
Conquered, with hostile Caesar on my track,
'To find a Lesbos where to enter in
'And whence to part, unhindered.'
In the boat
He placed his spouse: while from the shore arose
Such lamentation, and such hands were raised
In ire against the gods, that thou hadst deemed
All left their kin for exile, and their homes.
And though for Magnus grieving in his fall
Yet for Cornelia chiefly did they mourn
Long since their gentle guest. For her had wept
The Lesbian matrons had she left to join
A victor husband: for she won their love,
By kindly modesty and gracious mien,
Ere yet her lord was conquered, while as yet
Their fortunes stood. Now slowly to the deep
Sank fiery Titan; but not yet to those
He sought (if such there be) was shown his orb,
Though veiled from those he quitted. Magnus' mind,
Anxious with waking cares, sought through the kings
His subjects, and the cities leagued with Rome
In faith, and through the pathless tracts that lie
Beyond the scorching suns of southern climes:
Till trouble of his cares and hateful thought
Of that which might be, made him cast afar
His wavering doubts, and from the captain seek
Some counsel on the heavens; how by the sky
He marked his track upon the deep; what star
Guided the path to Syria, and what points
Found in the Wain would pilot him aright
To shores of Libya. But thus replied
The well-skilled watcher of the silent skies:
'Not by the constellations moving ever
'Across the heavens do we guide our barks;
'For that were perilous; but by that star1
'Which never sinks nor dips below the wave,
'Girt by the glittering groups men call the Bears.
'When stands the pole-star clear before the mast,
'Then to the Bosphorus look we, and the main
'Which carves the coast of Scythia. But the more
'Bootes dips, and nearer to the sea
'Is Cynosura seen, so much the ship
' Towards Syria tends, till bright Canopus 2 shines,
'In southern skies content to hold his course;
' With him upon the left past Pharos borne
'Straight for the Syrtes shalt thou plough the deep.
' But whither now dost bid me shape the yards
'And set the canvas? '
Magnus, doubting still;
'This only be thy care: from Thracia steer
' The vessel onward; shun with all thy skill
'Italia's distant shore: and for the rest
'Trust to the winds for guidance. When I sought,
' Pledged with the Lesbians, my spouse beloved,
'My course was sure: now, Fortune, where thou wilt
Give me a refuge.' These his answering words.
The pilot, as they hung from level yards
Shifted the sails; and hauling to the stern
One sheet, he slacked the other, to the left
Steering, where Samian rocks and Chian marred
The stillness of the waters; while the sea
Sent up in answer to the changing keel
A different murmur. Not so deftly turns
Curbing his steeds, his wain the Charioteer,
While glows his dexter wheel, and with the left
He almost touches, yet avoids the goal.
Now Titan veiled the stars and showed the shore;
When, following Magnus, came a scattered band
Saved from the Thracian storm. From Lesbos' port
His son; 3 next, captains who preserved their faith;
. For at his side, though vanquished in the field,
Cast down by fate, in exile, still there stood,
Lords of the earth and all her Orient realms,
The Kings, his ministers. To the furthest lands
He bids 4 Deiotarus: ' O faithful friend,

1 Comp. Book III., 256.

2 Canopus is a star in Argo, invisible in Italy. (Haskins.)

3 Sextus.

4 Tetrarch of Galatia. He was always friendly to Rome, and in the civil war sided with Pompeius. He was at Pharsalia.

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