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Intent on honour, dar'd in thickest death
To snatch the glorious deed. Nor Trebia quelld,
Nor Thrafymene, nor Canna's bloody field,
Their dauntless courage ; storming Hannibal
In vain the thunder of the battle rollid,
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 fev'rish thirst of gold,
Rous’d them again to battle. Beauteous Greece,
Torn from her joys, in vain with languid arm
Half rais’d her rufty shield; nor could avail
The sword of Dacia, nor the Parthian dart;
Nor yet the car of that fam'd' British chief,
Which seven brave years beneath the doubtful wing
Of vict'ry, dreadful roll'd its griding 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 plated greave and corslet hung unbrac’d;
Nor clank'd their arms, the spear and sounding shield,
But on the glitt'ring trophy to the wind.
Diffolv'd in ease and soft delights they lie,
'Till every sun annoys, and every wind
Has chilling force, and every rain offends :
For now the frame no more is girt with strength
Masculine, nor in 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: How'ry bow'rs they seek
(As æther prompts, as the sick sense approves)
Or cool Nymphean grots; or tepid baths
(Taught by the soft Ionians) they, along
The lawny vale, of every beauteous stone,
Pile in the roseat air with fond expence :
Through silver channels glide the vagrant waves,
And fall on silver beds crystalline down,
Melodious murmuring; while luxury
Over their naked limbs, with wanton hand,
Sheds roses, odours, sheds unheeded bane.
Swift is the flight of wealth ; unnumber'd wants, Brood of volupt’ousness, cry out aloud
Neceflity, and seek the splendid bribe.
The citron board, the bowl emboss'd with gems,
And tender foliage wildly wreath'd around
Of seeming ivy, by that artful hand,
Corinthian Thericles; whate'er is known
Of rarest acquisition ; Tyrian garbs,
Neptunian Albion's high teftaceous food,
And flavour'd Chian wines with incense fum'd
To Nake Patrician thirst: for these, their rights
In the vile streets they prostitute to fale ;
Their ancient rights, their dignities, their laws,
Their native glorious freedom. Is there none,
Is there no villain, that will bind the neck
Stretch'd to the yoke ? they come; the market throngs.
But who has most by fraud or force amass'd ?
Who moft can charm corruption with his doles ?
He be the monarch of the state; and lo!
Didius, vile us’rer, through the crowd he mounts ,
Beneath his feet the Roman eagle cow'rs,
And the red arrows fill his grasp uncouth.
O Britons, O my countrymen, beware,
Gird, gird your hearts ; the Romans once were free,
Were brave, were virtuous.-Tyranny howe’er
Deign'd to walk forth awhile in pageant ftate,
And with licentious pleasures fed the rout,
The thoughtless many: to the wanton found
Of fifes and drums they danc'd, or in the shade
Sung Cæsar, great and terrible in war,
Immortal Cæfár! lo, a God, a God,
He cleaves the yielding skies ! Cæsar mean while
Gathers the ocean pebbles; or the gnat
Enrag'd pursues; or at his lonely meal
Starves a wide province; tastes, dislikes, and Aings
To dogs and fycophants: a God, a God!
The flow'ry shades and shrines obscene return.
But see along the north the tempest swell
O’er the rough Alps, and darken all their snows !
Sudden the Goth and Vandal, dreaded names,
Rulh as the breach of waters, whelming all
Their domes, their villa’s ; down the festive piles,
Down fall their 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 Afhur 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,