Christopher Marlowe.

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Or mount the Sun's flame-bearing chariot,

And with bright restless fire compass the earth,

Undaunted though her former guide be chang'd ; 50

Nature and every power shall give thee place,

What god it please thee be, or where to sway.

But neither choose the north t'erect thy seat,

Nor yet the adverse reeking ^ southern pole,

Whence thou shouldst view thy Rome with squinting -

If any one part of vast heaven thou swayest,
The burden'd axes ^ with thy force will bend :
The midst is best ; that place is pure and bright ;
There, Caesar, mayst thou shine, and no cloud dim thee.
Then men from war shall bide in league and ease, 60
Peace through the world from Janus' fane shall fly.
And bolt the brazen gates with bars of iron.
Thou, Caesar, at this instant art my god ;
Thee if I invocate, I shall not need
To crave Apollo's aid or Bacchus' help ;
Thy power inspires the Muse that sings this war.

The causes first I purpose to unfold
Of these garboils,'* whence springs a long discourse ;
And what made madding people shake off peace.
The Fates are envious, high seats ^ quickly perish, 70

1 " Nee polus adversi calidus qua vergitur Austri."
- " Om^uo sideie." ^ Axis. •» Tumults

5 " Summis que negatum,

Stare diu."

256 First Book of L ucan.

Under great burdens falls are ever grievous ; '

Rome was so great it could not bear itself.

So when this world's compounded union breaks,

Time ends, and to old Chaos all things turn,

Confused stars shall meet, celestial fire

Fleet on the floods, the earth shoulder the sea,

Affording it no shore, and Phoebe's wain

Chase Phoebus, and enrag'd affect his place,

And strive to shine by day and full of strife

Dissolve the engines of the broken world. 80

All great things crush themselves ; such end the gods

Allot the height of honour ; men so strong

By land and sea, no foreign force could ruin.

O Rome, thyself art cause of all these evils,

Thyself thus shiver'd out to three men's shares !

Dire league of partners in a kingdom last not.

O faintly-join'd friends, with ambition blind,

Why join you force to share the world betwixt you ?

While th' earth the sea, and air the earth sustains.

While Titan strives against the world's swift course, 50

Or Cynthia, night's queen, waits upon the day.

Shall never faith be found in fellow kings :

Dominion cannot suffer partnership.

This need[s] no foreign proof nor far-fet ^ story :

Rome's infant walls were steep'd in brother's blood ;

Nor then was land or sea, to breed such hate ;

A town with one poor church set them at odds.-

» Far-fetched.

2 " Exiguum dominos commisit asylum."

First Book of L itcan. 257

Caesar's and Pompey's jarring love soon ended,
'Twas peace against their wills ; betwixt them both
Stepp'd Crassus in. Even as the slender isthmos, 100
Betwixt the ^gaean,^ and the Ionian sea,
Keeps each from other, but being worn away.
They both burst out, and each encounter other;
So whenas Crassus' wretched death, who stay'd them,
Had fill'd Assyrian Carra's ^ walls with blood,
His loss made way for Roman ou.rages.
Parthians, y'afflict us more than ye suppose ;
Being conquer'd, we are plagu'd with civil war.
Swords share our empire : Fortune, that made Rome
Govern the earth, the sea, the world itself, no

Would not admit two lords ; for Julia,
Snatch'd hence by cruel Fates, with ominous howls
Bare down to hell her son, the pledge of peace,
And all bands of that death-presaging alliance.
Julia, had heaven given thee longer life,
Thou hadst restrain'd thy headstrong husband's rage.
Yea, and thy father too, and, swords thrown down,
Made all shake hands, as once the Sabines did :
Thy death broke amity, and train'd to war
These captains emulous of each other's glory. 120

Thou fear'd'st, great Pompey, that late deeds would dim
Old triumphs, and that Caesar's conquering France
Would dash the wreath thou war'st for pirates' wreck :

1 " So old ed. in some copies which had been corrected at press-
other copies " Aezean. ' "— Dyce.

2 Carrae's.


258 First Book of L ucan.

Thee war's use stirr'd, and thoughts that always scorn'd

A second place. Pompey could bide no equal,

Nor Caesar no superior : which of both

Had justest cause, unlawful 'tis to judge :

Each side had great partakers ; Caesar's cause

The gods abetted, Cato lik'd the other. ^

Both differ'd much. Pompey was struck in years, 130

And by long rest forgot to manage arms,

And, being popular, sought by liberal gifts

To gain the light unstable commons' love.

And joy'd to hear his theatre's applause :

He lived secure, boasting his former deeds,

And thought his name sufficient to uphold him :

Like to a tall oak in a fruitful field,

Bearing old spoils and conquerors' monuments,

Who, though his root be weak, and his own weight

Keep him within the ground, his arms all bare, 140

His body, not his boughs, send forth a shade ;

Though every blast it nod,^ and seem to fall,

When all the woods about stand bolt upright,

Yet he alone is held in reverence.

Caesar's renown for war was less ; he restless,

Shaming to strive but where he did subdue ;

When ire or hope provok'd, heady and bold ;

At all times charging home, and making havoc ;

1 A somewhat weak translation of Lucan's most famous line : —
" Victrix causa diis placuit, sed victa Catoni."

- As the line stands we must take "nod" and "fall" tr>jnsitively
("though every blast make it nod and seem to make it fall"). The
original has " .\X quamvis primo nutet casura sub Euro."

First Book of Luc an. 259

Urging his fortune, trusting in the gods,

Destroying what withstood his proud desires, 150

And glad when blood and ruin made him way :

So thunder, which the wind tears from the clouds.

With crack of riven air and hideous sound

Filling the world, leaps out and throws forth fire,

Affrights poor fearful men, and blasts their eyes

With overthwarting flames, and raging shoots

Alongst the air, and, not resisting it.

Falls, and returns, and shivers where it lights.

Such humours stirr'd them up; but this war's seed

Was even the same that wrecks all great dominions. 160

When Fortune made us lords of all, wealth flow'd.

And then we grew licentious and rude ;

The soldiers' prey and rapine brought in riot ;

Men took dehght in jewels, houses, plate,

And scorn'd old sparing diet, and ware robes

Too light for women ; Poverty, who hatch'd

Rome's greatest wits,^ was loath'd, and all the world

Ransack'd for gold, which breeds the world['s] decay :

And then large limits had their butting lands ;

The ground, which Curius and Camillus till'd, 170

Was stretched unto the fields of hinds unknown.

Again, this people could not brook calm peace ;

Them freedom without war might not suffice :

Quarrels were rife ; greedy desire, still poor,

Did vild deeds ; then 'twas worth the price of blood,

And deem'd renown, to spoil their native town ;

1 ' ' Fecunda virorum / Paupertas."

26o First Book of Ltican.

Force mastered right, the strongest govern'd all ;
Hence came it that th' edicts were over-rul'd,
That laws were broke, tribunes with consuls strove.
Sale made of offices, and people's voices i8o

Bought by themselves and sold, and every year
Frauds and corruption in the Field of Mars;
Hence interest and devouring usury sprang.
Faith's breach, and hence came war, to most men wel-
Now Caesar overpass'd the snowy Alps ;
His mind was troubled, and he aim'd at war :
And coming to the ford of Rubicon,
At night in dreadful vision fearful^ Rome
Mourning appear'd, whose hoary hairs were torn,
And on her turret-bearing head dispers'd, 190

And arms all naked ; who, with broken sighs,
And staring, thus bespoke : " What mean'st thou, Caesar ?
Whither goes my standard ? Romans if ye be.
And bear true hearts, stay here ! " This spectacle
Struck Caesar's heart with fear ; his hair stood up,
And faintness numb'd his steps there on the brink.
He thus cried out : " Thou thunderer that guard'st
Rome's mighty walls, built on Tarpeian rock !
Ye gods of Phrygia and liilus' line,
Quirinus' rites, and Latian Jove advanc'd 200

On x\lba hill ! O vestal flames ! O Rome,
My thought's sole goddess, aid mine enterprise !
I hate thee not, to thee my conquests stoop :

" Ingens visa duci patriae trepidantis imago."

First Book of L^tcan. 261

Caesar is thine, so please it thee, thy soldier.

He, he afflicts Rome that made me Rome's foe."

This said, he, laying aside all lets ^ of war,

Approach'd the swelling stream with drum and ensign :

Like to a lion of scorch'd desert Afric,

Who, seeing hunters, pauseth till fell wrath

And kingly rage increase, then, having whisk'd 210

His tail athwart his back, and crest heav'd up,

With jaws wide-open ghastly roaring out.

Albeit the Moor's light javelin or his spear

Sticks in his side, yet runs upon the hunter.

In summer-time the purple Rubicon,
Which issues from a small spring, is but shallow.
And creeps along the vales, dividing just
The bounds of Italy from Cisalpine France.
But now the winter's wrath, and watery moon
Being three days old, enforc'd the flood to swell, 220
And frozen Alps thaw'd with resolving winds.
The thunder-hoofd - horse, in a crooked line,
To scape the violence of the stream, first waded ;
Which being broke, the foot had easy passage.
As soon as Caesar got unto the bank
And bounds of Italy, " Here, here," saith he,
" An end of peace ; here end polluted laws !
Hence leagues and covenants ! Fortune, thee I follow !
War and the Destinies shall try my cause."
This said, the restless general through the dark, 230

1 " Inde moras solvit belli.
^ ■' Sonipes."

262 Fii'st Book of Lucan.

Swifter than bullets thrown from Spanish slings,

Or darts which Parthians backward shoot, march'd on ;

And then, when Lucifer did shine alone,

And some dim stars, he Ariminum enter'd.

Day rose, and view'd these tumults of the war :

Whether the gods or blustering south were cause

I know not, but the cloudy air did frown.

The soldiers having won the market-place.

There spread the colours with confused noise

Of trumpets' clang, shrill cornets, whistling fifes. 240

The people started ; young men left their beds,

And snatch'd arms near their household-gods hung up,

Such as peace yields ; worm-eaten leathern targets,

Through which the wood peer'd,i headless darts, old

With ugly teeth of black rust foully scarr'd.
But seeing white eagles, and Rome's flags well known,
And lofty Caesar in the thickest throng,
They shook for fear, and cold benumb'd their limbs,
And muttering much, thus to themselves complain'd :
" O walls unfortunate, too near to France ! 250

Predestinate to ruin ! all lands else
Have stable peace : here war's rage first begins ;
We bide the first brunt. Safer might we dwell
Under the frosty bear, or parching east.
Waggons or tents, than in this frontier town.
We first sustain'd the uproars of the Gauls
And furious Cimbrians, and of Carthage Moors :

"Nuda jam crate fluentes/ Invadunt clypeos."

First Book of Liican. 26


As oft as Rome was sack'd, here gan the spoil."
Thus sighing whisper'd they, and none durst speak,
And show their fear or grief; but as the fields 260

When birds are silent thorough winter's rage.
Or sea far from the land, so all were whist. ^
Now light had quite dissolv'd the misty night,
And Caesar's mind unsettled musing stood ;
But gods and fortune pricked him to this war,
Infringing all excuse of modest shame.
And labouring to approve - his quarrel good.
The angry senate, urging Gracchus' ' deeds,
From doubtful Rome wrongly expell'd the tribunes
That crois'd them : both which now approach'd the
camp, 270

And with them Curio, sometime tribune too,
One that was fee'd for Caesar, and whose tongue
Could tune the people to the nobles' mind.**
'• Caesar," said he, " while eloquence prevail'd.
And I might plead and draw the commons' minds
To favour thee, against the senate's will,
Five years I lengthen'd thy command in France ;
But law being put to silence by the wars.
We, from her houses driven, most willingly
Suffer'd exile : let thy sword bring us home, 280

Now, while their part is weak and fears, march hence :

1 Silent. 2 Prove.

■ "Jactatis . . . Gracc/iis."

^ Marlowe omits to translate the words that follow in the original : —
" Utque ducem varias volventem pectore curas

264 First Book of Lucan.

Where men are ready lingering ever hurts. ^

In ten years wonn'st thou France : Rome may be won

With far less toil, and yet the honour's more ;

Few battles fought with prosperous success

May bring her down, and with her all the world.

Nor shalt thou triumph when thou com'st to Rome,

Nor Capitol be adorn'd with sacred bays ;

Envy denies all ; with thy blood must thou

Aby thy conquest past : - the son decrees 290

To expel the father : share the world thou canst not ;

Enjoy it all thou mayst." Thus Curio spake;

And therewith Caesar, prone enough to war,

Was so incens'd as are Elean ^ steeds

With clamours, who, though lock'd and chain'd in stalls,^

Souse ^ down the walls, and make a passage forth.

Straight summon'd he his several companies

Unto the standard : his grave look appeas'd

The wrestling tumult, and right hand made silence ;

And thus he spake : " You that with me have borne 3°°

A thousand brunts, and tried me full ten years,

See how they quit our bloodshed in the north,

1 A line (omitted by Marlowe) follows in the original : — " Par labor
atque metus pretio majore petuntur.'

'•* An obscure rendering of

' ' Gentesque subactas
Vix impure feres."

* Old ed. "Eleius." It is hardly possible to suppose (as Dyce sug-
gests) that Marlowe took the adjective " Eleus " for a substantive.

•• A mistranslation of "carcere clauso." (" Career " is the barrier or
starting-place in the circus.)

5 " Immineat foribus." "Souse" is a north-country word meaning
to bang or dash. It is also apphed to the swooping-down of a hawk.

Fu'st Book of Liiani. 265

Our friends' death, and our wounds, our wintering

Under the Alps ! Rome rageth now in arms

As if the Carthage Hannibal were near;

Cornets of horse are niuster'd for the field ;

Woods turn'd to ships ; both land and sea against us.

Had foreign wars ill-thriv'd, or wrathful P'rance

Pursu'd us hither, how were we bested,

When, coming conqueror, Rome afflicts me thus? 310

Let come their leader ^ whom long peace hath quail'd,

Raw soldiers lately press'd, and troops of gowns,

Babbling ^ Marcellus, Cato whom fools reverence !

Must Pompey's followers, with strangers' aid

(Whom from his youth he brib'd), needs make him king ?

And shall he triumph long before his time,

And, having once got head, still shall he reign ?

What should I talk of men's corn reap'd by force,

And by him kept of purpose for a dearth ?

Who sees not war sit by the quivering judge, 320

And sentence given in rings of naked swords.

And laws assail'd, and arm'd men in the senate ?

'Twas his troop hemm'd in Milo being accus'd ;

And now, lest age might wane his state, he casts

For civil war, wherein through use he's known

To exceed his master, that arch-traitor Sylla.

A[sj brood of barbarous tigers, having lapp'd

The blood of many a herd, whilst with their dams

They kennell'd in Hyrcania, evermore

1 Old ed. ' ' leaders. "

' So Dyce for the old ed's. " Brabbling." The original has " Marcel-
usque loquax." (" Brabbling" means "wrangling.";

266 First Book of Ltican.

Will rage and prey ; so, Ponipey, thou, having lick'd 330

Warm gore from Sylla's sword, art yet athirst :

Jaws flesh[ed] with blood continue murderous.

Speak, when shall this thy long-usurped power end ?

What end of mischief? Sylla teaching thee,

At last learn, wretch, to leave thy monarchy !

What, now Sicilian^ pirates are suppress'd,

And jaded 2 king of Pontus poison'd slain,

Must Pompey as his last foe plume on me.

Because at his command I wound not up

My conquering eagles ? say I merit naught,^ 340

Yet, for long service done, reward these men,

And so they triumph, be't with whom ye will.

Whither now shall these old bloodless souls repair ?

What seats for their deserts ? what store of ground

For servitors to till ? what colonies

To rest their bones ? say, Pompey, are these worse

Than pirates of Sicilia ? ^ they had houses.

Spread, spread these flags that ten years' space have

conquer'd !
Let's use our tried force : they that now thwart right,
In wars will yield to wrong :^ the gods are with us ; 350

i A mistake (or perhaps merely a misprint) for " Cilician."

2 Old ed. has "Jaded, king of Pontus ! "

^ " Unless we understand this in the sense of — say I receive no reward
(—and in Fletcher's Wotnan-Hater, 'merit' means — derive profit, B.
and F.'s Works, i. 91, ed. Dyce, — ), it is a wrong translation of ' mihi
si merces erepta laborum est.'" — Dyce.

* "Sicilia" should be " Cilicia."

•' A free translation of the frigid original —

" Arma tenenti
Omnia dat qui justa negat."

First Book of Luc an. 267

Neither spoil nor kingdom seek we by these arms,

But Rome, at thraldom's feet, to rid from tyrants."

This spoke, none answer'd, but a murmuring buzz

Th' unstable people made : their household-gods

And love to Rome (though slaughter steel'd their hearts,

And minds were prone) restrain'd them ; but war's love

And Ca;sar's awe dash'd all. Then Laelius.^

The chief centurion, crown'd with oaken leaves

For saving of a Roman citizen,

Stepp'd forth, and cried : " Chief leader of Rome's force,

So be I may be bold to speak a truth, 361

We grieve at this thy patience and delay.

What, doubt'st thou us ? even now when youthful blood

Pricks forth our lively bodies, and strong arms

Can mainly throw the dart, wilt thou endure

These purple grooms, that senate's tyranny ?

Is conquest got by civil war so heinous ?

Well, lead us, then, to Syrtes' desert shore.

Or Scythia, or hot Libya's thirsty sands.

This band, that all behind us might be quail'd, 370

Hath with thee pass'd the swelling ocean.

And swept the foaming breast of Arctic ' Rhene.

Love over-rules my will ; I must obey thee,

Caesar : he whom I hear thy trumpets charge,

1 hold no Roman ; by these ten blest ensigns

And all thy several triumphs, shouldst thou bid me

Entomb my sword within my brother's bowels.

1 Old ed. "Lalius."

- Olded. " ^ me /6j Rhene." (" Rhenj" is the old form of " Rhine.")

268 First Book of Luc an.

Or father's throat, or women's groaning ^ womb,

This hand, albeit unwilling, should perform it ;

Or rob the gods, or sacred temples fire, 380

These troops should soon pull down the church of Jove ;^

If to encamp on Tuscan Tiber's streams,

I'll boldly quarter out the fields of Rome ;

What walls thou wilt be levell'd with the ground.

These hands shall thrust the ram, and make them fly,

Albeit the city thou wouldst have so raz'd

Be Rome itself." Here every band applauded.

And, with their hands held up, all jointly cried

They'll follow where he please. The shouts rent heaven,

As when against pine-bearing Ossa's rocks 390

Beats Thracian Boreas, or when trees bow ^ down

And rustling swing up as the wind fets * breath.

When Csesar saw his army prone to war.

And Fates so bent, lest sloth and long delay

Might cross him, he withdrew his troops from France,

And in all quarters musters men for Rome.

They by Lemannus' nook forsook their tents ;

They whom ^ the Lingones foil'd with painted spears.

1 Soolded, — Dyce's correction " or groaning woman's womb" seems
liardly necessary. (The original has "plenaeque in viscera partu

* " Numina miscebit castrensis flanima Alonelae."

2 Old ed. "bowde. "
1 Fetches.

■'' The original has —

" Castraque quae, Vogesi curvam super ardua rupem,
Pugnaces pictis coliibebant Lini^onas armis."
Dyce conjectures that Marlowe's copy reads Lingones.

First Rook of Liican. 269

Under the rocks by crooked Vogesus ;

And many came from shallow Isara, 400

Who, running long, falls in a greater flood,

And, ere he sees the sea, loseth his name ;

The yellow Ruthens left their garrisons ;

Mild Atax glad it bears not Roman boats,"^

And frontier Varus that the camp is far.

Sent aid ; so did Alcides' port, whose seas

Eat hollow rocks, and where the north-west wind

Nor zephyr rules not, but the north alone

Turmoils the coast, and enterance forbids ;

And others came from that uncertain shore 410

Which is nor sea nor land, but ofttimes both,

And changeth as the ocean ebbs and flows ;

Whether the sea roU'd always from that point

Whence the wind blows, still forced to and fro;

Or that the wandering main follow the moon ;

Or flaming Titan, feeding on the deep.

Pulls them aloft, and makes the surge kiss heaven ;

Philosophers, look you ; for unto me,

Thou cause, whate'er thou be, whom God assigns

This great eff'ect, art hid. They came that dwell 4:10

By Nemes' fields and banks of Satirus,^

Where Tarbell's winding shores embrace the sea ;

The Santons that rejoice in Cassar's love ; ^

I Olded. "bloats."
- " Tunc rura Nemossi

Qui tenet et ripas Aturi."

' " Marlowe seems to have read here very ridiculously, 'gaudetque
amato [instead of amoto] Santonus hoste.' "— Z^jfif.

270 First Book of Liican.

Those of Bituriges,^ and light Axon ^ pikes ;

And they of Rhene and Leuca,^ cunning darters,

And Sequana that well could manage steeds ;

The Belgians apt to govern British cars ;

Th' A[r]verni, too, which boldly feign themselves

The Romans' brethren, sprung of Ilian race ;

The stubborn Nervians stain'd with Cotta's blood ; 430

And Vangions who, like those of Sarmata,

Wear open slops; ■^ and fierce Batavians,

Whom trumpet's clang incites; and those that dwell

By Cinga's stream, and where swift Rhodanus

Drives Araris to sea ; they near the hills,

Under whose hoary rocks Gebenna hangs ;

And, Trevier, thou being glad that wars are past thee :

And you, late-shorn Ligurians, who were wont

In large-spread hair to exceed the rest of France ;

And where to Hesus and fell Mercury ^ 440

They offer human flesh, and where Jove seems

Bloody like Dian, whom the Scythians serve.

And you, French Bardi, whose immortal pens

Renown the valiant souls slain in your wars,

Sit safe at home and chant sweet poesy.

1 Marlowe has converted the name of a tribe into that of a country.

2 The approved reading is "longisqiie leves Suessones in armis."

3 " Optimus excusso Leucus Rhe7nusque lacerto. "
^ " Et qui te laxis imitantur, Sarmata, bracchis


Marlowe has mistaken "Sarmata," a Sarmatian, for the country

5 The old ed. gives "fell Mercury (Joue)," and in the next line
"where it seems." ' Jove" written, as a correction, in the MS. above
" it " was supposed by the printer to belong to the previous line.

First Book of L luan. 271

And, Druides, you now in peace renew
Your barbarous customs and sinister rites :
In unfell'd woods and sacred groves you dwell ;
And only gods and heavenly powers you know,
Or only know you nothing ; for you hold 450

That souls pass not to silent Erebus
Or Pluto's bloodless kingdom, but elsewhere
Resume a body ; so (if truth you sing)
Death brings long life. Doubtless these northern men,
Whom death, the greatest of all fears, affright not,
Are blest by such sweet error ; this makes them
Run on the sword's point, and desire to die.
And shame to spare life which being lost is won.
You likewise that repuls'd the Cayc foe,
March towards Rome ; and you, fierce men of
Rhene, 460

Leaving your country open to the spoil.
These being come, their huge power made him bold
To manage greater deeds ; the bordering towns
He garrison'd ; and Italy he fill'd with soldiers.
Vain fame increased true fear, and did invade
The people's minds, and laid before their eyes
Slaughter to come, and, swiftly bringing news
Of present war, made many lies and tales :
One swears his troops of daring horsemen fought
Upon Mevania's plain, where bulls are graz'd ; 470

Other that Csesar's barbarous bands were spread
Along Nar flood that into Tiber falls.
And that his own ten ensigns and the rest
March'd not entirely, and yet hide the ground ;

2/2 First Book of L ucan.

And that he's much chang'd, looking wild and big,

And far more barbarous than the French, his vassals;

And that he lags ^ behind with them, of purpose.

Borne 'twixt the Alps and Rhene, which he hath brought

From out their northern parts,^ and that Rome,

He looking on, by these men should be sack'd. 4S0

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