CAESAR's DREAM, Before his Invasion of BRITAIN.
1 WHEN rough Helvetia's hardy sons obey,
2 And vanquish'd Belgia bows to Caesar's sway;
3 When, scarce-beheld, embattled nations fall,
4 The fierce Sicambrian, and the faithless Gaul;
5 Tir'd Freedom leads her savage sons no more,
6 But flies, subdu'd, to Albion's utmost shore.
7 'Twas then, while stillness grasp'd the sleeping air,
8 And dewy slumbers seal'd the eye of care;
9 Divine AMBITION to her votary came:
10 Her left hand waving, bore the trump of fame;
11 Her right a regal sceptre seem'd to hold,
12 With gems far-blazing from the burnish'd gold.
13 And thus, "My Son,"the Queen of Glory said;
14 "Immortal Caesar, raise thy languid head.
15 "Shall Night's dull chains the man of counsels bind?
16 "Or MORPHEUS rule the monarch of mankind?
17 "See worlds unvanquish'd yet await thy sword!
18 "Barbaric lands, that scorn a Latian lord!
19 "See yon proud isle, whose mountains meet the sky,
20 "Thy foes encourage, and thy power defy! [Page 289]
21 "What, tho' by Nature's firmest bars secur'd,
22 "By seas encircled, and with rocks immur'd,
23 "Shall Caesar shrink the greatest toils to brave,
24 "Scale the high rock, or beat the maddening wave?"
25 She spoke — her words the warrior's breast inflame
26 With rage indignant, and with conscious shame;
27 Already beat, the swelling floods give way,
28 And the fell genii of the rocks obey.
29 Already shouts of triumph rend the skies,
30 And the thin rear of barbarous nations flies.
31 Quick round their chief his active legions stand,
32 Dwell on his eye, and wait the waving hand.
33 The Hero rose, majestically slow,
34 And look'd attention to the crowds below.
35 'ROMANS and Friends! is there who seeks for rest,
36 ' By labours vanquish'd, and with wounds opprest;
37 'That respite Caesar shall with pleasure yield,
38 ' Due to the toils of many a well-fought field.
39 'Is there who shrinks at thought of dangers past,
40 ' The ragged mountain, or the pathless waste —
41 'While savage hosts, or savage floods oppose,
42 ' Or shivering fancy pines in Alpine snows?
43 'Let him retire to Latium's peaceful shore;
44 ' He once has toil'd, and Caesar asks no more.
45 'Is there a Roman, whose unskaken breast
46 ' No pains have conquer'd, and no fears deprest? [Page 290]
47 'Who, doom'd thro' death's dread ministers to go,
48 ' Dares to chastise the insults of a foe;
49 'Let him, his country's glory and her stay,
50 ' With reverence hear her, and with pride obey.
51 'A form divine, in heavenly splendor bright,
52 ' Whose look threw radiance round the pall of night,
53 'With calm severity approach'd and said,
54 "Wake thy dull ear, and lift thy languid head.
55 "What! shall a Roman sink in soft repose,
56 "And tamely see the Britons aid his foes?
57 "See them secure the rebel Gaul supply;
58 "Spurn his vain eagles, and his power defy?
59 "Go! burst their barriers, obstinately brave;
60 "Scale the wild rock, and beat the maddening wave."
61 Here paus'd the chief, but waited no reply,
62 The voice assenting spoke from every eye;
63 Nor, as the kindness that reproach'd with fear,
64 Were dangers dreadful, or were toils severe.