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'Twas there, beneath a fig-tree's umbrage broad,
Th' astonish'd swains with rev'rend awe beheld
Thee, 0 Quirinus! and thy brother twin,
Pressing the teat within a monster's grasp,
Sportive; while oft the gaunt and rugged wolf
Turn'd her stretch'd neck and form'd your tender limbs.
So taught of Jove, e'en the fell savage fed
Your sacred infancies : your virtues, toils,
The conquests, glories of th' Ausonian state,
Wrapp'd in their sacred seeds. Each kindred soul,
Robust and stout, ye grapple to your hearts ;
And little Rome appears.
Her cots arise ;
Green twigs of osier weave the slender walls ;
Green rushes spread the roofs; and here and there
Opens beneath the rock the gloomy cave.
Elate with joy, Etruscan Tiber views
Her spreading scenes enamelling his wave,
Her huts and hollow dells, and flocks and herds,
And gathering swains; and rolls his yellow car
To Neptune's courts with more majestic train.
Her speedy growth alarm’d the states around,
Jealous; yet soon, by wondrous virtue won,
They sink into her bosom. From the plough
Rose her dictators; fought, o’ercame, return’d,
Yes, to the plough return'd, and hail'd their peers :
For them no private pomp, no household state,
The public only swell’d the gen’rous breast.
Who has not heard the Fabian heroes sung?
Dentatus' scars, or Mutius' flaming hand ?
How Manlius sav'd the Capitol ? the choice
Of steady Regulus ? As yet they stood
Simple of life ; as yet seducing wealth
Was unexplor’d, and shame of poverty
Yet unimagin’d. Shine not all the fields
With various fruitage? Murmur not the brooks
Along the flow'ry valleys? They, content,
Feasted at nature's hand, indelicate,
Blithe in their easy taste, and only sought
To know their duties — that their only strife,
Their gen'rous strife, and greatly to perform.
They, through all shapes of peril and of pain,
Intent on honour, dar'd in thickest death
To snatch the glorious deed. Nor Trebia quell’d,
Nor Thrasymene, nor Cannæ’s bloody field,
Their dauntless courage : storming Hannibal
In vain the thunder of the battle roll’d;
The thunder of the battle they return'd
Back on his Punic shores, till Carthage fell,
And danger fled afar. The city gleam'd
With precious spoils : alas, prosperity!
Ah, baneful state! Yet ebb'd not all their strength
In soft luxurious pleasures : proud desire
Of boundless sway, and feverish thirst of gold,
Rous’d them again to battle. Beauteous Greece,
Torn from her joys, in vain, with languid arm,
Half-rais'd her rusty shield. Nor could avail
The sword of Dacia, nor the Parthian dart;
Nor yet the car of that fam'd British chief,
Which sev'n brave years, beneath the doubtless wing
Of vict'ry, dreadful rolld its grinding wheels
Over the bloody war: the Roman arms
Triumph'd till Fame was silent of their foes.
And now the world unrivall’d they enjoy'd
In proud security: the crested helm,
The plaited greave and corselet, hung unbrac'd;
Nor clank'd their arms, the spear and sounding shield,
But on the glittering trophy, to the wind.
Dissolv'd in ease and soft delights they lie,
Till every sun annoys,
Has chilling force, and every rain offends.
For now the frame no more is girt with strength
Masculine, nor, in the lustiness of heart,
Laughs at the winter-storm and summer-beam,
Superior to their rage : enfeebling vice
Withers each nerve, and opens every pore
To painful feeling.
But see, along the North the tempest swells
O’er the rough Alps, and darkens all their snows!
Sudden the Goth and Vandal, dreadful names !
Rush as the breach of waters, whelming all
Their domes, their villas ; down the festive piles ;
Down the Parian porches, gilded baths;
And roll before the storm in clouds of dust.
Vain end of human strength, of human skill,
Conquest and triumph, and domain and pomp,
And ease and luxury! O luxury!
Bane of elated life, of affluent states,
What dreary change, what ruin is not thine !
How doth thy bowl intoxicate the mind !
To the soft entrance of thy rosy cave,
How dost thou lure the fortunate and great !
Dreadful attraction! while behind thee gapes
Th’unfathomable gulph where Asshur lies
O’erwhelm’d, forgotten; and high-boasting Cham,
And Elam's haughty pomp, and beauteous Greece,
And the great queen of earth, imperial Rome!
The quality of mercy is not strain’d:
It droppeth as the gentle dew from heaven
Upon the place beneath. It is twice bless'd;
It blesseth him that gives, and him that takes.
'Tis mightiest in the mightiest. It becomes
The throned monarch better than his crown:
His sceptre shews the force of temporal power,
Th' attribute to awe and majesty,
Wherein doth sit the dread and fear of kings ;
But mercy is above this sceptred sway:
It is enthroned in the hearts of kings;
It is an attribute of God himself;
And earthly power doth then shew likest God's
When mercy seasons justice.
BREATHES there the man with soul so dead, Who never to himself hath said,
“ This is my own, my native land ?” Whose heart hath ne'er within him burn’d, As home his footsteps he hath turn'd
From wand'ring on a foreign strand ? If such there breathe, go, mark him well; For him no minstrel-raptures swell; High though his titles, proud his name, Boundless his wealth as wish can claim, Despite those titles, pow'r, and pelf, The wretch, concentred all in self, Living shall forfeit fair renown, And, doubly dying, shall go down To the vile dust from whence he sprung, Unwept, unhonour'd, and unsung.
O Caledonia, stern and wild, Meet nurse for a poetic child ! Land of brown heath and shaggy wood, Land of the mountain and the flood ! Land of my sires! what mortal hand Can e'er untie the filial band That knits me to thy rugged strand ? Still as I view each well-known scene, Think what is now, and what hath been, Seems as to me of all bereft, Sole friends thy woods and streams are left :