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M. Annaeus Lucanus, Pharsalia (ed. Sir Edward Ridley), book 6, line 1 (search)
ow their towers rising on the heights, And in vast circle forests are enclosed And groves and spacious lands, and beasts of prey, As in a line of toils. Pompeius lacked Nor field nor forage in th' encircled span Nor room to move his camp; nay, rivers rose Within, and ran their course and reached the sea; And Caesar wearied ere he saw the whole, And daylight failed him. Let the ancient tale Attribute to the labours of the gods The walls of Ilium: let the fragile bricks Which compass in great Babylon, amaze The fleeting Parthian. Here a larger space Than those great cities which Orontes swift And Tigris' stream enclose, or that which boasts In Eastern climes, the lordly palaces Fit for Assyria's kings, is closed by walls Amid the haste and tumult of a war Forced to completion. Yet this labour huge Was spent in vain. So many hands had joined Or Sestos with Abydos, or had tamed With mighty mole the Hellespontine wave, Or Corinth from the realm of Pelops king Had rent asunder, or had spare
M. Annaeus Lucanus, Pharsalia (ed. Sir Edward Ridley), book 6, line 413 (search)
lence to the gods: the Queenly guest Medea. From Colchis gathered here the fatal roots That were not in her store: hence vain to heaven Rise impious incantations, all unheard; For deaf the ears divine: save for one voice Which penetrates the furthest depths of air Compelling e'en th' unwilling deities To hearken to its accents. Not the care Of the revolving sky or starry pole Can call them from it ever. Once the sound Of those dread tones unspeakable has reached The constellations, then nor Babylon Nor secret Memphis, though they open wide The shrines of ancient magic and entreat The gods, could draw them from the fires that smoke Upon the altars of far Thessaly. To hearts of flint those incantations bring Love, strange, unnatural; the old man's breast Burns with illicit fire. Nor lies the power In harmful cup nor in the juicy pledge Of love maternal from the forehead drawn;It was supposed that there was on the forehead of the new-born foal an excrescence, which was bitten off and eat
M. Annaeus Lucanus, Pharsalia (ed. Sir Edward Ridley), book 8, line 211 (search)
a with the Persian Gulf. ' Rule is their wish, nought else: and in their plains ' Taller the war-horse, stronger twangs the bow; ' There fails nor youth nor age to wing the shaft ' Fatal in flight. Their archers first subdued ' The lance of Macedon and Bactra's Balkh of modern times. Bactria was one of the kingdoms established by the successors of Alexander the Great. It was, however, subdued by the Parthians about the middle of the third century B.C. walls, ' Home of the Mede; and haughty Babylon ' With all her storied towers: nor shall they dread ' The Roman onset; trusting to the shafts ' By which the host of fated Crassus fell. ' Nor trust they only to the javelin blade ' Untipped with poison: from the rancorous edge 'The slightest wound deals death. Would that my lot ' Forced me not thus to trust that savage race ' Of Arsaces!Dion could not believe it possible that Pompeius ever contemplated taking refuge in Parthia, but Plutarch states it as a fact; and says that it was Theoph
M. Annaeus Lucanus, Pharsalia (ed. Sir Edward Ridley), book 8, line 331 (search)
Then ask the foe for succour. For what blame ' Can rest on thee or Caesar worse than this, 'That in the clash of conflict ye forgot ' For Crassus' slaughtered troops the vengeance due? 'First should united Rome upon the Mede 'Have poured her captains, and the troops who guard 'The northern frontier from the Dacian hordes; 'And all her legions should have left the Rhine 'Free to the Teuton, till the Parthian dead ' Were piled in heaps upon the sands that hide ' Our heroes slain; and haughty Babylon 'Lay at her victor's feet. To this foul peace 'We pray an end; and if Thessalia's day 'Has closed our warfare, let the conqueror march 'Straight on our Parthian foe. Then should this heart, 'Then only, leap at Caesar's triumph won. 'Go thou and pass Araxes' chilly stream 'On this thine errand; and the mournful ghost 'Pierced by the Scythian shaft shall greet thee thus: ' "Dost thou, to whom our wandering shades have looked '" For vengeance and for war, seek from the foe '"A treaty and a pea
M. Annaeus Lucanus, Pharsalia (ed. Sir Edward Ridley), book 10, line 1 (search)
wave: Nor flame nor flood nor sterile Libyan sands Stayed back his course, nor Hammon's pathless shoals; Far to the west, where downward slopes the world He would have led his armies, and the poles Had compassed, and had drunk the fount of Nile: But came his latest day; such end alone Could nature place upon the madman king, Who jealous in death as when he won the world His empire with him took, nor left an heir. Thus every city to the spoiler's hand Was victim made. Yet in his fall was his Babylon; and Parthia feared him. Shame on us That Eastern nations dreaded more the lance Of Macedon than now the Roman spear. True that we rule beyond where takes its rise The burning southern breeze, beyond the homes Of western winds, and to the northern star; But towards the rising of the sun, we yield To him who kept the Arsacids in awe; And puny Pella held as province sure The Parthia fatal to our Roman arms. Now from the stream Pelusian of the Nile, Was come the boyish king, taming the rage Of
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