Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, HORACE: CHORUS AT THE END OF ACT 4, by PIERRE CORNEILLE



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HORACE: CHORUS AT THE END OF ACT 4, by            
First Line: Rome, thou hast bought the triumph dear
Last Line: Even they themselves shall envy thee.
Subject(s): Roman Empire


ROME, thou hast bought the Triumph dear,
And like a greedy purchaser,
Hast laid a greater treasure forth,
Than Alba's fealty is worth.
What hast thou won, that can make good
The two Horatii's lavish'd blood?
Or who are left fit to supply
The noble Curiatii?
You now may with confederate arms
Invade your borderers in swarms,
And think like two united seas,
T' o'erflow your neighb'ring provinces;
And for new conquests may prepare,
When you are weaker than you were.
Too brave Horatio, thou hadst won
Glory to have out-dar'd the Sun,
And live a president in Rome
To virtue ages yet to come.
But this last act of thine has thrown
So black a cloud o'er thy renown,
That future times at once must see
Thy Valour and thy Cruelty.
Thus as the sun does climb the skies,
He still in brighter beams doth rise,
Till in his full-meridian plac't,
His glories thence decline as fast;
So men by dangerous degrees,
Arriv'd at Honour's precipice,
Striving ambitiously to get
To brighter stations higher yet:
There wanting footing for their pride,
They topple on the other side;
And in one act do forfeit more
Than all they had achiev'd before.
Were Love, and Piety such crimes,
In these so celebrated times,
That Fury must in Justice stead
Level the mourners with the dead?
Must charming Beauty, at whose feet
Valour its conquests should submit,
That sex that privileg'd should be
Even from inhumanity,
Th' effects of brutish fury feel?
Thy virtues sweet Camilla still,
Do in thy ev'ning brighter rise
To baffle human cruelties.
And bravest heroes when they shall
This great example of thy fall
In the world's brightest annals see,
Even they themselves shall envy thee.





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