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Horace, Book II, Ode X..
A Reflection on the foregoing Ode.
Si te fortè meæ gravis uret sarcina chartæ,
Hor. Lib. I. Epist. 13.
A. You told me, I remember, glory, built On selfish principles, is shame and guilt; The deeds, that men admire as half divine, Stark naught, because corrupt in their design. Strange doctrine this! that without scruple tears The laurel that the very lightning spares; Brings down the warrior's trophy to the dust, And eats into his bloody sword like rust.
B. I grant that, men continuing what they are, Fierce, avaricious, proud, there must be war. And never meant the rule should be applied To him, that fights with justice on his side.
Let laurels, drench'd in pure Parnassian dews,
Feats of renown, though wrought in ancient days,
But let eternal infamy pursue
The wretch to nought but his ambition true,
Then view him self-proclaim'd in a gazette
Then grace the bony phantom in their stead With the king's shoulderknot and gay cockade; Clothe the twin brethren in each other's dress, The same their occupation and success.
A. 'Tis your belief the world was made for man'; Kings do but reason on the selfsame plan: Maintaining yours, you cannot theirs condemn, Who think, or seem to think, man made for them. B. Seldom, alas! the pow'r of logic reigns With much sufficiency in royal brains; Such reas'ning falls like an inverted cone, Wanting its proper base to stand upon. Man made for kings! those optics are but dim, That tell you so-say, rather, they for him. That were indeed a king-ennobling thought, Could they, or would they, reason as they ought.
The diadem, with mighty projects lin'd
Is worth, with all it's gold and glitt❜ring store,
To nurse with tender care the thriving arts;