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Although the brazen-footed doe he slew
And stilled the groves of Erymanth, and bade
The beast of Lerna at his arrows quail.
Nor half so far triumphant Baechus drove,
With vine-entwisted reins, his frolic team
Of tigers from the tall-topped Indian hill.
“Still do we doubt if heroes' deeds can fill
A realm so wide? Shall craven fear constrain
Thee or thy people from Ausonia's shore?
Look, who is he I may discern from far
By olive-branch and holy emblems known?
His flowing locks and hoary beard, behold!
Fit for a Roman king! By hallowed laws
He shall found Rome anew—from mean estate
In lowly Cures led to mightier sway.
But after him arises one whose reign
Shall wake the land from slumber: Tullus then
Shall stir slack chiefs to battle, rallying
His hosts which had forgot what triumphs be.
Him boastful Ancus follows hard upon,
o'erflushed with his light people's windy praise.
Wilt thou see Tarquins now? And haughty hand
Of vengeful Brutus seize the signs of power?
He first the consul's name shall take; he first
Th' inexorable fasces sternly bear.
When his own sons in rash rebellion join,
The father and the judge shall sentence give
In beauteous freedom's cause—unhappy he!
Howe'er the age to come the story tell,
't will bless such love of honor and of Rome.
See Decius, sire and son, the Drusi, see!
Behold Torquatus with his axe! Look where
Camillus brings the Gallic standards home!
“But who are these in glorious armor clad
And equal power? In this dark world of cloud
Their souls in concord move;—but woe is me!
What duel 'twixt them breaks, when by and by
The light of life is theirs, and forth they call
Their long-embattled lines to carnage dire!
Allied by nuptial truce, the sire descends
From Alpine rampart and that castled cliff,
Monoecus by the sea; the son arrays
His hostile legions in the lands of morn.
Forbear, my children! School not your great souls
In such vast wars, nor turn your giant strength
Against the bowels of your native land!
But be thou first, 0 first in mercy! thou
Who art of birth Olympian! Fling away
Thy glorious sword, mine offspring and mine heir!
“Yonder is one whose chariot shall ascend
The laurelled Capitolian steep; he rides
In glory o'er Achaea's hosts laid low,
And Corinth overthrown. There, too, is he
Who shall uproot proud Argos and the towers
Of Agamemnon; vanquishing the heir
Even of Aeacus, the warrior seed
Of Peleus' son; such vengeance shall be wrought
For Troy's slain sires, and violated shrines!
“Or who could fail great Cato's name to tell?
Or, Cossus, thine? or in oblivion leave
The sons of Gracchus? or the Scipios,
Twin thunderbolts of war, and Libya's bane?
Or, more than kingly in his mean abode,
Fabricius? or Serranus at the plough?
Ye Fabii, how far would ye prolong
My weary praise? But see! 'T is Maximus,
Who by wise waiting saves his native land.
“Let others melt and mould the breathing bronze
To forms more fair,—aye! out of marble bring
Features that live; let them plead causes well;
Or trace with pointed wand the cycled heaven,
And hail the constellations as they rise;
But thou, 0 Roman, learn with sovereign sway
To rule the nations. Thy great art shall be
To keep the world in lasting peace, to spare
humbled foe, and crush to earth the proud.”
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