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The navy sailed the deep, and every eye
Gazed on Ionian billows. But the chief
Turned not his vision from his native shore
Now left for ever, while the morning mists
Drew down upon the mountains, and the cliffs
Faded in distance till his aching sight
No longer knew them. Then his wearied frame
Sank in the arms of sleep. But Julia's shape,
In mournful guise, dread horror on her brow,
Rose through the gaping earth, and from her tomb
Erect,1 in form as of a Fury spake:
'Driven from Elysian fields and from the plains
'The blest inhabit, when the war began,
'I dwell in Stygian darkness where abide
'The souls of all the guilty. There I saw
'Th' Eumenides with torches in their hands
'Prepared against thy battles; and the fleets 2
' Which by the ferryman of the flaming stream
'Were made to bear thy dead: and Hell enlarged
'To hold thy punishments: the sisters three
' With busy fingers all their needful task
' Could scarce accomplish, and the threads of fate
'Dropped from their weary hands. With me thy wife,
'Thou, Magnus, leddest happy triumphs home:
'New wedlock brings new luck. Thy concubine,
' Whose star brings all her mighty husbands ill,
'Cornelia, weds in thee a breathing tomb.3
'Through wars and oceans let her cling to thee
'So long as I may break thy nightly rest:
' No moment left thee for her love, but all
'By night to me, by day to Caesar given.
'Me not the oblivious banks of Lethe's stream
' Have made forgetful; and the kings of death
' Have suffered me to join thee; in mid fight
'I will be with thee, and my haunting ghost
'Remind thee Caesar's daughter was thy spouse.
'Thy sword kills not our pledges; civil war
'Shall make thee wholly mine.' She spake and fled.
But he, though heaven and hell thus bode defeat,
More bent on war, with mind assured of ill,
'Why dread vain phantoms of a dreaming brain?
Or nought of sense and feeling to the soul
Is left by death; or death itself is nought.'
Now fiery Titan in declining path
Dipped to the waves, his bright circumference
So much diminished as a growing moon
Not yet full circled, or when past the full;
When to the fleet a hospitable coast
Gave access, and the ropes in order laid,
The sailors struck the masts and rowed ashore.
Thus was the fleet set free and rapt from view
By favouring breezes. On Italian soil
Sole lord stood Caesar: but he found no joy
In triumph over Magnus-rather grieved
That thus in safety had his flight been sped.
Not any gifts of fortune now sufficed
His fiery spirit; and no victory won,
Unless the war was finished with the stroke.
Then arms he laid aside, in guise of peace
Seeking the people's favour; skilled to know
How to arouse their ire, and how to gain
The popular love by corn in plenty given.
Alone through famine cities can be won;
By food a tyrant bribes the crowd to cringe;
And starving peoples know not how to fear.
He orders Curio to stem the waves
And cross to lands Sicilian, where of old
Or ocean by a sudden rise o'erwhelmed
The land, or split the isthmus right in twain,
Leaving a path for seas. The mighty deep
There labours ever lest again should meet
The mountains rent asunder. Nor were left
Sardinian shores unvisited: each isle
Is blest with noble harvests which have filled
More than all else the granaries of Rome,
And poured their plenty on Hesperia's shores.
Not even Libya, with its fertile soil,
Their yield surpasses, when the southern wind
Gives way to northern and permits the clouds
To drop their moisture on the teeming earth.
This ordered, Caesar leads his legions on,
Not armed for war, but as in time of peace
Returning to his home. Ah! had he come
With only Gallia conquered and the North,4
What long array of triumph had he brought!
What pictured scenes of battle! how had Rhine
And Ocean borne his chains! How noble Gaul,
And Britain's fair-haired chiefs his lofty car
Had followed! Such a triumph had he lost
By further conquest. Now in silent fear
They watched his marching troops, nor joyful towns
Poured out their crowds to welcome his return.
Yet did the conqueror's proud soul rejoice,
Far more than at their love, at such a fear.
“The rugged Charon fainted,
And asked a navy, rather than a boat,
To ferry over the sad world that came.
”(Ben Jonson, 'Catiline,' Act i., scene 1.)
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