Verse > Anthologies > Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. > Poems of Places > Africa
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Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed.  Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
Africa: Vol. XXIV.  1876–79.
 
Egypt, Nubia, and Abyssinia: Alexandria
The Death of Cleopatra
Horace (65–8 B.C.)
 
Translated by R. M. Hovenden

NOW let us drink; with nimble feet
  Now let us strike the holy ground;
  With couches deck the temple round
For Saliaric banquets meet.
 
Which of us, friends, had disinterred        5
  His costly wines, what time the Queen,
  Puffed up with pride and female spleen,
Encircled by a loathsome herd
 
Unsexed, but foul with barren lust,
  Marshalled her powers to overwhelm        10
  Our Capitol and ancient realm,
And lay Rome’s glories in the dust?
 
But Egypt knows her dream a cheat
  Begot of Mareotic fumes,
  When the devouring fire consumes,        15
Ship after ship, her Actium fleet.
 
When Cæsar, following in her wake,
  Like hawk or hunter giving chase
  To timorous dove or hare of Thrace,
Urges his crew to overtake        20
 
And load the monster-queen with chains,
  She homeward steers, resolved to die,
  Preferring death to slavery
Or exile from her old domains.
 
Now, in her royal house serene,        25
  Upon her breast she dares to clasp
  The venom of the deadly asp,
Unshrinking, to the last a Queen.
 
She scorns, the haughty one, to go
  In keel Liburnian over sea,        30
  No golden-fettered captive she
To grace the triumph of her foe.
 
 
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