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MITHRIDAT E S.

A. U. C. 680.

1000

Too oft, 'tis true, the historian's record shows, Fortune with Rome, and justice with her foes; Too oft, alas! the impartial eye must find Conquest with guilt in all her wreaths entwin'd: But cruel Mithridates urg'd his fate, 3 And fell unpitied, though unfortunate. Resolvid to be destroy'd, or to o'ercome, His hate surpass'd ev'n Hannibal's to Rome.+ 1005 More fierce and not less brave, nor forc'd, like him, To hang for succours on a faction's whim;

Like

had there been any other more brief and sanguinary, he would have preferred it: and as he was uncommonly brave, he had not even the despicable plea of fear and cowardice to palliate his barbarities.

3 Nam quid atrocius uno ejus edicto, quum omnes, qui in Asia forent, Romanæ civitatis homines interfici jussit? Flor. l. iii. c. 5.

* Mithridates---odio in Romanos Hannibal, Vel. Par. 1. ii. c. 18.

s Mithridates was a prince of great courage and capacity. His ani

1010

Like him, to court a senate, far remov'd
From dangers they decried, and he had prov'd;
A sordid, sanguine, false, inconstant herd,
(The soldier's plague,) at once despis’d and fear'd;
Cold hearts, and boiling veins,

and boiling veins, and clamorous tongues, Cause and proclaimers of the people's wrongs; Just perch'd like birds of baleful note on high, To feed and scream, while famish'd veterans die. Not so the Pontus' king; a despot born, 1016 He heard of laws, and heard them but to scorn.

mosity to the Romans surpassed, if possible, that of Hannibal. He made head against their ablest generals for a period of more than forty years; and his resources being very great, had the discipline or courage of his troops equalled that of the Romans, it seems doubtful whether they would ever have been able entirely to subdue him. Finding it next to impossible to destroy him completely in the field, they resorted to their usual policy of raising internal divisions in his dominions, and of drawing off or intimidating his allies. His cruel and tyrannous government made this no very difficult undertaking; for he ruled entirely by fear, and was more hated by his subjects than his enemies.

L

Fatal

1020

Fatal alike in all his fierce designs,
To subjects, children, wives, and concubines: 6
While in his furious temper love became
Pernicious as revenge, or hatred's flame;
All in their turn were victims sure to prove,
His enmity less dreadful than his love;
And his last gift to her who charm'd his soul,
The deadly poniard, or envenom'd bowl: 1025
Compos’d of contrasts ;—though suspicious, bold;
Barbarous, though learn’d;' and amorous, though

old.
No friend he trusted, no engagement kept;
Midst aconite and antidotes he slept;
Till on himself his poisons vainly tried, 1030
He curs'd the science that was once his pride;

+

8

Near thirty

• Amant avec transport, mais jaloux sans retour,

Sa haine va toujours plus loin que son amour. Racine. Mith.
? Mithridates, Ponti rex inclutus, quinque et viginti gentium, quas
sub ditione habuit, linguas percalluit. A. Gell. Noc. Att.

* Prælio victus, venena violentissima festinandæ necis gratiâ frustrà

expertus, suo se ipse gladio transegit. A. Gell. Noc. Att. dificient alien tengucs were known

And Familiar to thi, Tyrant ad his owiz

Gobling and Fiends before hið foorsteprise And none like himnin fature's goi'din skilld

To kunt hij noalko, and searchim with you' siw. Explord the herby Play sic cithe filol:. Sul ciud was the subich, malign

Perniciou lecch! heeulld the springing flower Driverum fi fiera from chinamental pain, on prostrate Slaved hiv baleful for w. sheiun, scomes to yiolate your beauteous icica The bure l'eserving for himself alone. -hind their essence with some fiagizat soll, May's life he prizd bur foi esperiment; first by a Sonceitss, 1019 - Murdere staind, His felom potho let'deadly, Hanlock strely, iclceld Solin she'd chlopious clerg

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And found at length his self-destroying sword
The last, best, servant of its desperate lord.”

Where the vast ridge of Caucasus lies stretch'd,
The wild dominions of this monarch reach'd; 1035
With savage people filld, who own'd his

sway,
Sequacious still where slaughter led the way:
Thence by the sea of Pontus was his reign,
His vessels covering all that subject main; 1039

No fact has been more frequently repeated by the ancient writers, or seems to have been received more indisputably, than that Mithridates had so fortified his constitution by antidotes against poison as not to be able to destroy himself by it; (See Dion Cassius, lib. xxxvii. p. 119. cdit. Reimari: « Το, τε γαρ φαρμακον, καιτοι θανασιμου ον, ου συνειλεν αυλο», επειδη πολλη καθ' εκάστην ημεραν προφυλακη αλεξιφαρμακων εκεκρατηθο”) but 1 believe there is some reason not to admit the certainty of this notion. He might perhaps have been skilful enough in the nature of antidotes to know by their application how to expel the strongest poison soon after it was administered; but by using remedies so efficacious as to keep the anatomy in a constant state of resistance to it, he must have destroyed the vessels capable of admitting infection: so that the means to prevent mortality would have been as mortal as any which could have been employed to produce it. He put himself to death by the sword, probably because at the time he had no poison within his reach; or he might have thought that manner of dying more expeditious and less painful. Upon this point physicians must be the best judges.

Mithridates put an end to his life, A. U. C. 690, the year in which Augustus Cæsar was born.

1, 2

Fresh

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Fresh Scythian armies by his gold were gain'd,
A race exhaustless, though for ever drain’d.
Asia, the eternal seat of war's alarms,
Defenceless lay to his invading arms;
While his rich cities on the Euxine tide, 1044
From thriving commerce stores of wealth supply'd.
No hasty, transient war he meant to wage,'
But felt and breath'd interminable rage :
As the chaf'd lion, galld by distant wounds,
With ire redoubled, on his hunters bounds;
So the proud king, defeated, not subdued, 1050
Still with new fury his revenge pursued."
Lucullus chas'd him first from Asia far,
Repuls'd, and seam'd with many a deep-trench'd

scar;
And Pompey drove the outcast to despair.

1

' Ille per quadraginta annos restitit. Flor. 1. iii. c. 5.

ut major clariorque in restaurando bello resurgeret, damnisque suis terribilior redderetur. Just. 1. xxxvii. c. I.

CATILINE.

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