Medulla Poetarum Romanorum - Vol. I. (Battle - Beautiful)

See Rout. Slaughter.

Mean while the Trojan Squadron to the Town
Approaches, and th' Etrurian Chiefs, and all
The Army of the Horse, compos'd in Troops
By certain Numbers rang'd:--o'er all the Field
The bounding Coursers struggle with the Bit,
Now This, now That Way turn'd, and neigh aloud:
A Wood of Jav'lins rises: and the Plain
Glows dreadful with the Iron Gleam of Arms.
--The Latins on the Field
Stand opposite: with Hands drawn back protend
Their threat'ning Spears, and shake their brandish'd Darts.
The Noise of trampling Feet, and neighing Steeds
Burns in the Air, and nearer rolls the Fight.
Now within Jav'lins Reach both Armies stood.
Loud with a sudden Shout in Onset fierce
They rush amain, and rouse their thund'ring Steeds:
Thick as a Storm of Snow their Arrows pour,
And darken all the Sky--

Forthwith the Lines disorder'd croud: And turn'd
In Flight, the Latins cast their Shields behind,
And spur their smoking Horses to the Town.
The Trojans urge the Chace: Asylas Chief
Leads on the Troops: They now approach'd the Gates:
The Latins in their Turn, with deaf'ning Shout,
Wheel round their Steeds, and bend their pliant Necks:
The Trojans fly, and slack the waving Reins.

Twice to their Walls the Tuscans drove in Flight
The Rutuli: Twice, cover'd with their Shields,
Themselves look back, and see the Foes pursue.
But when, engaging in the third Assault,
All Battle joyn'd, and Man to Man oppos'd:
Then dying Groans are heard: and drown'd in Gore
Arms, Bodies, gasping Steeds, and slaughter'd Men
Promiscuous roll:--a rigid Fight ensues.--

All with their utmost Force exerted strive:
Nor Pause, nor Respite: with vast Conflict fierce
They push, and sweat, and labour o'er the Field--

--As in War,
The long extended Legion forms in Lines
It's Cohorts: when the marshall'd Squadrons stand
In the wide Plain: and, the whole Army rang'd,
The Ground all fluctuates with the brazen Gleam:
Nor yet in horrid Shock the Battle joins,
But Mars, uncertain, hovers o'er the Field.--

And now, the fainting Stars at length gave Way,
And hid their vanquish'd Fires in beamy Day:
When round their Leader's Tent the Legions croud,
And, urg'd by Fate, demand the Fight aloud.
Wretches! that long their little Life to waste,
And hurry on those Hours that fly too fast!
Too soon, for thousands, shall the Day be done,
Whose Eyes no more shall see the setting Sun!--

Loud thro' the Camp the rising Murmurs sound,
And one tumultuous Hurry runs around:
Sudden their busy Hearts began to beat,
And each pale Visage wore the Marks of Fate.

And now the Warriors all with busy Care,
Whet the dull Sword, and point the blunted Spear:
With tougher Nerves they string the bended Bow,
And in full Quivers steely Shafts bestow:
The Horseman sees his Furniture made fit,
Sharpens the Spur, and burnishes the Bit:
Fixes the Rein to check, or urge his Speed,
And animates to Fight the snorting Steed.--

Caesar scarce spoke, when sudden at the Word,
They seize the Lance, and draw the shining Sword:
At once the turfy Fences all lie waste,
And thro' the Breach the crowding Legions haste:
Regardless all of Order, and Array,
They stand, and trust to Fate alone the Day.

Strait, at the fatal Signal, all around
A thousand Fifes, a thousand Clarions sound:
Beyond where Clouds, or glancing Lightnings fly,
The piercing Clangors strike the vaulted Sky.
The joining Battles shout, and the loud Peal
Bounds from the Hill, and thunders down the Vale.--

Now flit the thrilling Darts thro' liquid Air,
And various Vows from various Masters bear.

Firm in the Front, with joining Bucklers clos'd,
Stood the Pompeian Infantry dispos'd:
So crowded was the Space, it scarce affords
The Pow'r to toss their Piles, or weild their Swords.
Forward, thus thick embattled tho' they stand,
With headlong Wrath rush furious Caesar's Band:
In vain the lifted Shield their Rage retards,
Or plaited Mail devoted Bosoms guards:
Thro' Shields, thro' Mail, the wounding Weapons go,
And to the Heart drive home each deadly Blow.

From Pompey's ample Wings, at length, the Horse
Wide o'er the Plain extending, take their Course:
Wheeling, around the hostile Line they wind,
While lightly arm'd the Slingers march behind.
In various Ways the various Bands engage,
And hurl upon the Foe the missile Rage:
There fiery Darts, and rocky Fragments fly,
And heating Bullets whistle thro' the Sky.
Of feather'd Shafts, a Cloud thick shading goes,
From Arab, Mede, and Ituraean Bows:
But driv'n by random Aim they seldom wound:
They hide the Heav'n at first, then strew the Ground:
While Roman Hands unerring Mischief send,
And certain Deaths on ev'ry Pile attend.

But Caesar, timely careful, to support
His wav'ring Front against the first Effort,
A Body of Reserve, in silence sent,
To where the wheeling Foe their Fury bent.
Then Pompey's Troops, nor mindful of the Fight,
Nor stay'd by Shame, betake themselves to Flight.
Some fiery Steeds, impatient of a Wound,
Their Riders throw, and trample on the Ground:
Strait the whole Corps with sudden Terror turn,
And, in their flying, o'er their Friends are born.
Hence foul Confusion, and Dismay succeed,
The Victors murder, and the Vanquish'd bleed.--

Prevailing still, the Victors held their Course,
Till Pompey's main Reserve oppos'd their Force
There in his Strength the Chief unshaken stood,
Repell'd the Foe, and made the Combat good:
There in suspense th' uncertain Battle hung,
And Caesar's fav'ring Goddess doubted long.--

But Pompey soon, the Fate of Rome descry'd,
And saw the changing Gods forsake his Side.
Hard to believe, tho' from a rising Ground
He view'd the universal Ruin round;
In crimson Streams he saw Destruction run,
And in the Fall of Thousands felt his own.
Nor wish'd he, like most Wretches in Despair,
The World one common Misery might share:
But with a generous, great, exalted Mind,
Besought the Gods to pity poor Mankind,
To let him dye, and leave the rest behind.

So saying, the tumultuous Field he cross'd,
And warn'd from Battle his despairing Host.
Then carry'd by his winged Steed away,
He quits the purple Plain, and yields the Day.--

See Beautiful.

Beauty, that fleeting Good, grows yearly less,
And Time, alone, will spoil the finest Face.
The Violet nor Lilly always blows,
And Prickles oft survive the faded Rose.
Grey Hairs, my Charmer, will disgrace thy Head,
And thy fair Body Wrinkles overspread:
Then by thy Virtues make thy Glory sure;
The Mind's Perfections to the last endure.--

Beauty, thou ensnaring Good,
Scarce by Mortals understood!
Fleeting Gift! which cannot stay,
How swiftly doth Thou post away!--

Years, charming Maid! will spoil that lovely Face,
And Wrinkles deep thy beauteous Front disgrace:
Old Age advancing silently and slow,
To all that's fair inexorable Foe!
O'er all thy Charms his cruel Hand will lay,
And each endearing Feature rend away.--

Ah me! how soon a wrinkl'd Skin invades!
How very soon a fine Complexion fades!
Nor ought avails it even tho' you swear,
That from your Infancy you'd some grey Hair;
You grow all hoary in a few more Years,
And then the venerable Truth appears.--

Beauty's not lasting, nor is Fortune sure;
But soon or late we all must Death endure.--

The Fair are haughty, Pride with Beauty dwells.--

Beauty with Virtue is a Sight that's rare:
Chast is no Epithet to suit with Fair.--

Ah! Hellen, can you then so simple be,
To think such Beauty can from Faults be free?
Or change that Face, or you must needs be kind,
Beauty and Virtue seldom have been joyn'd.--

Trust not to Beauty only, O ye Fair!
That's not enough, make better Things your Care:
Smart Wit, fine Sense, the Tongue's endearing Grace,
Far, far excel the finest--featur'd Face.
In vain are all the other Aids of Art,
Good--Nature only can secure the Heart.--

Beauty, it's Power.

To him, disdaining or to feign a Tear,
Or spread her artfully dishevel'd Hair,
In comely Sorrow's decent Garb array'd,
And trusting to her Beauty's certain Aid,
In Words like these began the Pharian Maid.--

In vain her Words the Warrior's Ears assail'd,
Had not her Face beyond her Tongue prevail'd:
From thence resistless Eloquence she draws,
And with the sweet Perswasion gains her Cause.
His stubborn Heart dissolves in loose Delight,
And grants her Suit, for one lascivious Night.--


Lo! Philomela enters richly gay;
But brighter far in Beauty than Array.
Charming, as Fame or Fiction can relate
The Dryads, walking thro' the Woods in State:
Fancy like her the Naïds would express,
Allowing them her Elegance of Dress.--

Mean time the Virgin flies, or seems to fly,
Swift as a Scythian Arrow cleaves the Sky:
Still more and more, the Youth her Charms admires:
The Race itself t' exalt her Charms conspires.
The golden Pinions, which her Feet adorn,
In wanton Flutt'rings by the Winds are born.
Down from her Head, the long, fair Tresses flow,
And sport with lovely Negligence below.
The waving Ribbons, which her Buskins tye,
Her snowy Skin with waving Purple dye:
As crimson Veils, in Palaces display'd,
To the white Marble lend a blushing Shade.--

Æneas, now, adorn'd with ev'ry Grace,
Shone forth, in Shape and Features like a God:
For Venus with the rosy Bloom of Youth
Had flush'd her Son, with comely Locks adorn'd,
And breath'd a sparkling Lustre on his Eyes.
Such is the Beauty which the Artists Hand
To polish'd Iv'ry lends: So Silver shines,
Or Parian Stone, enchas'd in yellow Gold.--

But far above the Rest in Beauty shines
The great Æneas, when the Troop he joins:
Like fair Apollo, when he leaves the Frost
Of wintry Xanthus, and the Lycian Coast:
When to his native Delos he resorts,
Ordains the Dances, and renews the Sports:
Green Wreaths of Bays his Length of Hair inclose:
A Golden Fillet binds his aweful Brows:
His Quiver sounds: Not less the Prince is seen
In Beauty, graceful, and commanding Mein.--

Young Pallas shone conspicuous o'er the rest:
Gilded his Arms, embroider'd was his Vest.
So, from the Seas, exerts his radiant Head,
The Star, by whom the Lights of Heav'n are led:
Shakes from his rosy Locks the pearly Dews:
Dispels the Darkness, and the Day renews.--

As Lucifer excels the meanest Star,
Or, as the full--orb'd Phoebe Lucifer:
So much did Hersè all the rest outvye,
And gave a Grace to the Solemnity.--

Graceful was his Mein,
His Person lovely, and his Age sixteen.
His Habit made his native Beauty more:
A purple Mantle fring'd with Gold he wore.
Rich Chains of Gold adorn'd his Neck so fair,
And moist with Myrrh was form'd a Crownet of his Hair.--

Thy beauteous Eyes shine with celestial Fire,
And rosy Odours from thy Neck aspire:
Brighter than Gold thy burnish'd Tresses flow,
Thy balmy Lips like the bright Crimson glow.
Meandring Veins sublime thy Bosom's White,
And ev'ry Grace adorns Thee for Delight.
Each Goddess' boasted Charms in thine we see,
And vanquish'd Venus yields the Prize to Thee.
Thy Hands are silver, and with am'rous Pride
The silky Threads thro' thy soft Fingers slide.
Thy Feet, too lovely e'er to touch the Ground!
From no invidious Pebbles fear a Wound:
For whensoe'er you o'er the Lillies tread,
Th' uninjur'd Flow'r scarce bends its snowy Head.
Let costly Jewels meaner Beauties wear,
To grace their Necks, or glitter in their Hair:
You, unadorn'd, are exquisitely fair.
There's some Defect in ev'ry Thing we view,
But Envy's self can't spy a Fault in you.—

by Henry Baker

Comments (1)

A ten from me! ! ! I love writing haikus.My best one is titled RAINBOW IN MOTION HAIKUS.You have some mispellings: whip bleak disappear.You can always check your spellings and syllables with the on-line dictionary and correct them in the edit your poem/manage my poetry.Good image and feeling to your haiku.