previous next
[124] "So great a calamity broke the power of the gods also, and dread in heaven swelled the rout. A host of gentle deities throughout the world abandon the frenzied earth in loathing, and turn aside from the doomed army of mankind.

"Peace first of all, with her snow-white arms bruised, hides her vanquished head beneath her helmet, and leaves the world and turns in flight to the inexorable realm of Dis. At her side goes humble Faith and Justice with loosened hair, and Concord weeping with her cloak rent in pieces. But where the hall of Erebus is open and gapes wide, the dreadful company of Dis[p. 273] ranges forth, the grim Fury, and threatening Bellona, Megaera whirling her torches, and Destruction, and Treachery, and the pale presence of Death. And among them Madness, like a steed loosed when the reins snap, flings up her bloody head and shields her face, scarred by a thousand wounds, with a bloodstained helm; her left hand grips her worn martial shield, heavy with countless spear-points, her right waves a blazing brand and carries fire through the world.

"Earth felt that the gods were there, the stars were shaken, and swung seeking their former poise; for the whole palace of the sky broke and tumbled to ruin, And first Dione1 champions the deeds of Caesar, and Pallas joins her side, and the child of Mars,2 who brandishes his tall spear. "The sister3 of Phoebus and the son of Cyllene4 and the hero of Tiryns,5 like to him in all his deeds, receive Pompey the Great.

"The trumpets shook, and Discord with dishevelled hair raised her Stygian head to the upper sky. Blood had dried on her face, tears ran from her bruised eyes, her teeth were mailed with a scurf of rust, her tongue was dripping with foulness and her face beset with snakes, her clothes were torn before her writhen breasts, and she waved a red torch in her quivering hand. When she had left behind the darkness of Cocytus and Tartarus, she strode forward to the high ridges of[p. 275] proud Apennine, to gaze down thence upon all the earth and all its shores, and the armies streaming over the whole globe; then these words were wrung from her angry soul: 'To arms now, ye peoples, while your spirit is hot, to arms, and set your torches to the heart of cities. He that would hide him shall be lost: let no women halt, nor children, nor the old who are now wasted with age; let the earth herself quake, and the shattered houses join the fight. Thou Marcellus,6 hold fast the law. Thou, Curio,7 make the rabble quail. Thou, Lentulus,8 give brave Mars no check. And thou, divine Caesar, why art thou a laggard with thine arms? Crash down the gates, strip towns of their walls and seize their treasure. So Magnus knows not how to hold the hills of Rome? Let him take the bulwarks of Epidamnus9 and dye the bays of Thessaly10 with the blood of men.' Then all the commands of Discord were fulfilled upon the earth."

Eumolpus poured out these lines with immense fluency, and at last we came into Croton. There we refreshed ourselves in a little inn, but on the next day we went to look for a house of greater pretensions, and fell in with a crowd of fortune-hunters, who inquired what kind of men we were, and where we had come from. Then, as arranged by our common council,[p. 277] a torrent of ready words burst from us, and they gave easy credence to our account of ourselves and our country. They at once quarrelled fiercely in their eagerness to heap their own riches on Eumolpus.

The fortune-hunters all competed to win Eumolpus's favour with presents. . . .

1 Venus, though properly Dione is the mother of Venus. Caesar by convention was descended from her through Iulus and Aeneas.

2 Romulus, as son of Mars.

3 Diana.

4 Mercury, son of Maia and Zeus, born on Mount Cyllene.

5 Hercules, who lived at Tiryns while he served Eurystheus.

6 See note on c. 123. The law was the Senatus consultum of 49 B.C. ordering Caesar to give up his army.

7 C. Scribonius Curio, a supporter of Caesar, who was defeated and killed by Juba in Africa, 49 B. C.

8 See note on c. 123. The law was the Senatus consultum of 49 B.C. ordering Caesar to give up his army.

9 Dyrrhachium in Epirus, where Pompey entrenched himself on the outbreak of war.

10 Cf. note on c. 121.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

load focus Introduction (Michael Heseltine, 1913)
load focus Latin (Michael Heseltine, 1913)
hide References (3 total)
  • Cross-references in general dictionaries to this page (3):
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: