Motum ex Metello
The civil disturbance which began in the consulship of Metellus
and the causes of the war, its evils and the ways of it,
the play of Fortune, the fatal friendships
of the great, and armour
smeared with still unexpiated blood--
themes fraught with the hazard of the dice--
all these you treat, and tread on fire
smouldering under ashes.
For a little your strict Tragic Muse must desert
the theatres. In due course, when you have set the affairs 10
of state in order, you will return to your great duty
in the buskin of Cecrops,
a glorious bulwark, Pollio, for the abject defendant
and for the Senate consulting you.
For you the laurel has brought forth honours
ever green in your Dalmatian triumph.
But now you assault our ears with the menacing thunder
of horns, bugles now blare, the dazzle
of armour now puts fear into fleeing horses
and the faces of horsemen. 20
Now I seem to hear of great leaders
begrimed with glorious dust
and the whole world subdued
except the fierce spirit of Cato.
Powerless, Juno and all the gods who favour Africa
had abandoned it unavenged,
but now they have given the descendants of the victors
as offerings to the shade of Jugurtha.