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Brought either chief to Macedonian shores
Still equal to his foe. From cooler skies
Sank Atlas'1 daughters down, and Haemus' slopes
Were white with winter, and the day drew nigh
Devoted to the god who leads the months,
And marking with new names the book of Rome,
When came the Fathers from their distant posts
By both the Consuls to Epirus called 2
Ere yet their year was dead: a foreign land
Obscure received the magistrates of Rome;
A senate sojourning in foreign lands
Held there high questions, not in warlike camp
But hedged by all the axes of the law;
And all men gazing on the reverend ranks
Knew that no Magnus' party there was met,
But all the state; and Magnus was but one.
Mid silent sadness from his lofty seat
Thus spake the Consul: ' If your hearts still beat
' With Latian blood, and if within your breasts
' Still lives your fathers' vigour, look not now
' On this strange land that holds us, nor enquire
'How far the captured city. Know the face
Of your own company; the rulers you
In all that comes. Be this your first decree,
' Whose truth all peoples and all kings confess;
' Be this the Senate. Let the frozen wain
' Demand your presence, or the torrid zone
' Wherein the day and night with equal tread
'For ever march; still follows in your steps
' The central power of Imperial Rome.
' When flamed the Capitol with fires of Gaul,
' When Veii held Camillus, there with him
' Was Rome, nor ever though it changed its clime
' Your order lost its rights. In Caesar's hands
' Are sorrowing houses and deserted homes,
' Laws silent for a space, and forums closed
' In public fast. His Senate-house beholds
' Those Fathers only whom from Rome it drove,
' While Rome was full. Of that high order all
' Not here, are exiles.3 Ignorant of war,
'Its crimes and bloodshed, through long years of peace,
'Ye fled its outburst: now in session all
'Are here assembled. See ye how the gods
Weigh down Italia's loss by all the world
'Thrown in the other scale? Illyria's wave
'Rolls on our foes: in Libya's arid wastes
'Is fallen their Curio, the weightier part 4
'Of Caesar's senate! Lift your standards, then,
'Spur on your fates and prove your hopes to heaven.
'Let Fortune, smiling, give you courage now
'As, when ye fled, your cause. The Consuls' power
' Fails with the dying year: not so does yours;
' By your commandment for the common weal
' Decree Pompeius leader.' With applause
They heard his words, and placed their country's fates,
Nor less their own, within the chieftain's hands.
Then did they shower on people and on kings
Honours well earned-Rhodes, Mistress of the Seas,
Was decked with gifts; Athena, old in fame,
Received her praise, and the rude tribes who dwell
On cold Taygetus; Massilia's sons
Their own Phocaea's freedom; on the chiefs
Of Thracian tribes, fit honours were bestowed.
They order Libya by their high decree
To serve King Juba's sceptre; and, alas!
On Ptolemaeus, of a faithless race
The faithless sovereign, scandal to the gods,
And shame to Fortune, placed the diadem
Of Pella. Boy! against the common herd
Fierce is thy weapon. Ah, if that were all!
The fatal gift gave, too, Pompeius' life;
Bereft thy sister of her sire's bequest,5
Half of the kingdom: Caesar of a crime.
Then all to arms. While soldier thus and chief,
In doubtful sort, against their hidden fate
Devised their counsel, Appius 6 only feared
To face the chances of the war, and sought
Through Phoebus' ancient oracle to break
The silence of the gods, and know the end.
1 The Pleiades, said to be daughters of Atlas.
2 These were the Consuls for the expiring year, B.C. 49 - Caius Marcellus and L. Lentulus Crus.
3 That is to say, Caesar's Senate at Rome could boast of those Senators only whom it had, before Pompeius' flight, declared public enemies. But they were to be regarded as exiles, having lost their rights, rather than the Senators in Epirus, who were in full possession of theirs.
4 Dean Merivale says that probably Caesar's Senate was not less numerous than his rival's. Duruy says there were 200 senators in Pompeius' camp, out of a total of between 500 and 600. Mommsen says, 'they were veritably emigrants. This Roman Coblentz presented a pitiful spectacle of the high pretensions and paltry performances of the grandees of Rome.' (Vol. iv., p. 397.) Almost all the Consulars were with Pompeius.
5 By the will of Ptolemy Auletes, Cleopatra had been appointed joint sovereign of Egypt with her young brother. Lucan means that Caesar would have killed Pompeius if young Ptolemy had not done so. She lost her share of the kingdom, and Caesar was clear of the crime.
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