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“ Longa est injuria, longæ Ambages;
sed summa sequar faftigia rerum.” Virg.
OW have we wander'd a long dismal night,
Led through blind paths by each deluding light ! Now plung'd in mire, now by sharp brambles torn, With tempests beat, and to the winds a scorn! Loft, weary'd, spent! but see the Eastern star And glimmering light dawns kindly from afar : Bright goddess, hail! while we by thee survey The various errors of our painful way ; While, guided by some clew of heavenly thread, The labyrinth perplex'd we backward tread, Through rulers’ avarice, pride, ambition, hate, Perverse cabals, and winding turns of state,
The senate's rage, and all the crooked lines
Of incoherent plots and wild designs;
Till, getting out where first we enter'd in,
A new bright race of glory we begin.
As, after Winter, Spring's glad face appears,
As the blest shore to ship-wreck'd mariners,
Success to lovers, glory the brave,
Health to the sick, or freedom to the slave;
Such was great Cæsar's day! the wondrous day,
That long in Fate's dark bofom hatching lay,
Heaven to absolve, and satisfaction bring,
For twenty years of misery and fin!
What shouts, what triumph, what unruly joy,
Swell'd every breast, did every tongue employ,
rays direct, whilst on his people shone
The King triumphant from the martyr's throne !
Was ever prince like him to mortals given?
So much the joy of earth and care of heaven!
Under the pressure of unequal fate,
Of so erect a mind, and soul so great !
So full of meekness, and so void of pride,
When borne aloft by Fortune's highest tide !
Mercy, like heaven, 's his chief prerogative,
His joy to save, and glory to forgive.
All storms compos’d, and tempests rage asleep,
He, Halcyon like, sat brooding o'er the deep.
He saw the royal bark securely ride,
No danger threatening from the peaceful tide ;
And he who, when the winds and seas were high,
Oppos'd his skill, and did their rage defy,
No diminution to his honour thought,
T'enjoy the pleasure of the calm he brought.
(Should he alone be fo the people's slave
is not to share the blessings that he gave :)
But not till, full of providential care,
He chose a pilot in his place to steer :
One in his father's councils and his own
Long exercis'd, and grey in business grown;
Whose confirm'd judgment and sagacious wit
Knew all the sands on which rash monarchs split s
Of rising winds could, ere they blew, inform,
And from which quarter to expect the storm.
Such was, or such he feem'd, whom Cæfar chofc,
And did all empire's cares in him repose;
That, after all his toils and dangers past,
He might lie down and taste some case at last.
Now stands the statesinan of the helm poffest,
On him alone three mighty nations rest;
* Byrsa his name, bred at the wrangling bar,
And kill'd in arms of that litigious war;
But more to Wit's peacefuller arts inclinod,
Learning's Mæcenas, and the Muses’ friend ;
every Muse in every age had fung,
His easy flowing wit and charming tongue,
Had not the treacherous voice of power inspir'd
His mounting thoughts, and wild ambition fir’d;
Disdaining less alliances to own,
He now lets up for kinsman of the throne ;
And Anna, by the power her father gain’d,
Back’d with great Cæsar's absolute command,
On false pretence of former contracts made,
Is forc'd on brave * Britannicus's bed.
Thus rais’d, his insolence his wit out-vy'd,
And meanest avarice maintain'd his pride :
When Cæfar, to confirm his infant state,
Drown'd in oblivion all old names of hate,
By threatening many, but excepting none
That paid the purchase of oblivion.
Byrsa his master's free-given mercy sold,
And royal grace retail'd for rebel gold :
That new siate-maxim he invented first,
(To aged Time's last revolution curst)
That teaches monarchs to oblige their foes,
And their best friends to beggary expose;
For thefe, he said, would still beg on and serve;
'Tis the old badge of loyalty to starve :
But harden'd rebels must by bribes be won,
And paid for all the mighty ills they 've done :
When wealth and honour from their treasons flow,
How can they chuse but very loyal grow?
This false ungrateful maxim Byrsa taught,
Vast sums of wealth from thriving rebels brought ;
Titles and power to thieves and traitors fold,
Swellid his stretch'd coffers with o'er-flowing gold.
Hence all these tears----in thefe first feeds was fown
His country's following ruin, and his own.
Of that accurst and sacrilegious crew,
Which great by merit of rebellion grew,
Had all unactive perish'd and unknown,
The false * Antonius had suffic'd alone,
To all succeeding ages to proclaim
Of this state principle the guilt and shame.
Antonius early in rebellious race
Swiftly set out, nor slackening in his pace,
The same ambition that his youthful heat
Urg'd to all ills, the little daring brat
With unabated ardour does engage
The loathsome dregs of his decrepit age;
Bold, full of native and acquir'd deceit,
Of sprightly cunning and malicious wit;
Restless, projecting still some new design,
Still drawing round the government his line,
Bold on the walls, or busy in the mine :
Lewd as the stews, but to the blinded eyes
Of the dull crowd as Puritan precise ; !
Before their fight he draws the juggler's cloud
Of public intereft, and the people’s good.
The working ferment of his active mind,
In his weak body's calk with pain confin’d,
Would burst the rotten vessel where 'tis pent,
But that 'tis tapt to give the treason vent.
Such were the men that from the statesman's hand, Not pardon only, but promotion gain'd: