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[121] "He spoke and ended, and strained to take her hand in his, till he broke and clove the earth asunder. Then Fortune poured forth words from her fickle heart: 'Father, whom the inmost places of Cocytus obey, thy prayer shall prosper, if at least I may foretell the truth without fear; for the anger that rises in my heart is stern as thine, and the flame that burns deep in my bones as fierce. I hate all the gifts I have made to towering Rome, and am angry at my own blessings. The god that raised up those high palaces shalldestroy them too. It will be my delight also to burn the men and feed my lust with blood. Lo, already I see Philippi's field strewn with the dead of two battles,1 and the blazing pyres of Thessaly2 and the burial of the people of Iberia.3 Already the crash of arms rings in my trembling ears. And in Libya I see the barriers of the Nile4 groan, and the people in terror at the gulf of Actium and the army loved by Apollo.5 Open, then, the thirsty realms of thy dominion, and summon fresh souls. The old sailor, the Ferryman, will scarcely have strength to carry over the ghosts of the men in his[p. 263] boat; a whole fleet is needed. And thou, pale Tisiphone, take thy fill of wide destruction, and tear the bleeding wounds; the whole world is rent in pieces and drawn down to the Stygian shades.'

1 In the battles of Pharsalus, 48 B. C., the final defeat of Pompey, and Philippi, 42 B. C., the defeat of the Republican army under Brutus and Cassius.

2 Again referring to Pharsalus, which is in Thessaly.

3 Killed in Caesar's Spanish campaigns against the Pompeians, 49 and 45 B.C.

4 The reference is to Caesar's Egyptian campaigns.

5 The Emperor Augustus ascribed his victory over Antony and Cleopatra at Actium in 31 B. C. to the favour of Apollo.

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