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[106] "Now—to employ you as often as I can as my authority—what could be more clearly of divine origin than the auspice which is thus described in your Marius1 ?

Behold, from out the tree, on rapid wing,
The eagle that attends high-thundering Jove
A serpent bore, whose fangs had wounded her;
And as she flew her cruel talons pierced
Quite through its flesh. The snake, tho' nearly dead,
Kept darting here and there its spotted head;
And, as it writhed, she tore with bloody beak
Its twisted folds. At last, with sated wrath
And grievous wounds avenged, she dropped her prey,
Which, dead and mangled, fell into the sea;
And from the West she sought the shining East.
When Marius, reader of divine decrees,
Observed the bird's auspicious, gliding course,
He recognized the goodly sign foretold
That he in glory would return to Rome;
Then, on the left, Jove's thunder pealed aloud
And thus declared the eagle's omen true.

1 This poem, written by Cicero in his early youth, eulogizes Marius, who like Cicero, was born at Arpinum. Cf. Cic. De leg. i. 1.

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load focus Introduction (William Armistead Falconer, 1923)
load focus Latin (William Armistead Falconer, 1923)
load focus Latin (C. F. W. Müller, 1915)
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