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HORACE: CHORUS AT THE END OF ACT 2, by                    
First Line: How prone are people tir'd with peace
Last Line: The other kicks and knocks the sky.

How prone are people tir'd with Peace,
To nauseate their happiness,
And headlong into mischief run,
To feed their foul ambition!
Leisure and luxury, when met
In populous cities, do beget
That monster War, which at the first,
In little private discords nurst,
Grows higher by degrees, until
Having got power to his will,
He breaks into a general flame,
Beyond what Polity can tame.
No int'rest then escapeth free
From insolence and cruelty:
And facts that flow from brutish lust,
The titles wear of great and just.
Nay when War's ensigns are display'd,
It is Religion to invade,
No matter whom, nor what the cause;
Nor is there room for other Laws,
Than what the Victor will on those,
His riots have subdu'd, impose.
Yet there have still pretences been
The vilest practices to screen.
There never wanted a pretence
To violate suff'ring innocence;
Though whatsoever men pretend,
Wealth, and Dominion are their end.
Imperious Rome! must Alba feel
The edge of thy invading steel?
Alba, thy Mother, from whose womb,
Thy founder Romulus did come?
Or if thou tak'st an impious pride
To be esteem'd a Parricide,
Can nothing satiate thy will
Unless that Brothers, Brothers kill?
Deluded Heroes! How they fly
To meet a cruel Destiny,
And sacrifice themselves to fame,
A nothing, a mere airy name,
When in th' unnatural contests
Who conquer'd falls is happiest!
'Tis tyrant Honour unto thee
We owe this bloody Tragedy,
Whom, but the virtuous none obey,
And being so, become thy prey.
They see in thy deluding glass
Trophies and Triumphs, when, alas,
'Tis their own blood they haste to shed
And live, but to lament the Dead.
Deaf unto Piety, and Love,
The combatants are gone to prove
Themselves true Patriots, when they are
The instruments of Civil War,
And hazard in a combat more,
Than in a battle heretofore.
Fate holds the balance whilst they figh
And finds both scales of equal weight;
Valour with Valour even weighs,
Honour with Honour, Praise with Praise;
But when she lays upon the beam
Her partial hand, and varies them,
The one scale gets it, whilst on high
The other kicks and knocks the sky.

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