Page:The works of Horace - Christopher Smart.djvu/32

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book i.

Neither will I pass thee by in silence, O Bacchus, bold in combat; nor thee, O Virgin, who art an enemy to the savage beasts; nor thee, O Phœbus, formidable for thy unerring dart.

I will sing also of Hercules, and the sons of Leda, the one illustrious for his achievements on horseback, the other on foot; whose clear-shining[1] constellation as soon as it has shone forth to the sailors, the troubled surge falls down from the rocks, the winds cease, the clouds vanish, and the threatening waves subside in the sea–because it was their will. After these, I am in doubt whom I shall first commemorate, whether Romulus, or the peaceful reign of Numa, or the splendid ensigns of Tarquinius,[2] or the glorious death of Cato. I will celebrate, out of gratitude, with the choicest verses, Regulus,[3] and the Scauri, and Paulus, prodigal of his mighty soul, when Carthage conquered, and Fabricius.[4]

Severe poverty, and an hereditary farm, with a dwelling suited to it, formed this hero useful in war; as it did also Curius[5] with his rough locks, and Camillus.[6] The fame of Marcellus[7] increases, as a tree does in the insensible progress

  1. "Lucida atque simul cœlo serenitatem reducens," ut Od. i. 7, 13; albus notus. Orelli.
  2. Tarquinius Priscus, the fifth king of Rome, the son of Demaratus, a Corinthian, but born at Tarquinium in Etruria, and called Lucumo, till by the persuasion of his wife Tanaquil, an ambitious woman, and skillful in augury and other kinds of divination, to which the Etrurians were very much addicted, he came to Rome, where by his money and good address he grew popular, and so insinuated himself into the favor of Ancus Martius, that when he died he left him guardian to his children, whom he defrauded, usurping the kingdom. Watson.
  3. Marcus Attilius Regulus, a consul of Rome in the first Punic war, in the year of the city 420, a great example of strict honor in observing his engagements, even with enemies. Watson.
  4. Fabricius, the name of a Roman family, of which this Caius Fabricius Luscinus was a consul, who conquered Pyrrhus, king of Epirus, the best soldier of his time. Watson.
  5. Curius, a nobleman of Rome, surnamed Dentatus; he was thrice consul, and was noted for his courage, singular honesty, and frugality. Watson.
  6. Camillus. a noble Roman; he, though banished from Rome, out of love to the welfare of his distressed country, saved Rome from its final ruin by the Gauls. Watson.
  7. Marcellus is a diminutive from Marcus, Marculus, Marcellus: there were several Roman knights of this name. Claudius Marcellus is meant here, a valiant commander, called Ensis Romanorum, the Roman sword, who first proved it was not impossible to conquer Hannibal, as Victor expresseth it After a long siege he took Syracuse. Watson.