30 July 2011

SEVENTY-FIRST

Tell him, all terms, all commerce I decline,

Nor share his council, nor his battle join;

For once deceiv’d, was his; but twice were mine,

No — let the stupid prince, whom Jove deprives

Of sense and justice, run where frenzy drives;

His gifts are hateful: kings of such a kind

Stand but as slaves before a noble mind,

Not though he proffer’d all himself possess’d,

And all his rapine could from others wrest:

Not all the golden tides of wealth that crown

The many-peopled Orchomenian town;

Not all proud Thebes’ unrivall’d walls contain,

The world’s great empress on the Egyptian plain

(That spreads her conquests o’er a thousand states,

And pours her heroes through a hundred gates,

Two hundred horsemen and two hundred cars

From each wide portal issuing to the wars);

Though bribes were heap’d on bribes, in number more

Than dust in fields, or sands along the shore;

Should all these offers for my friendship call,

’Tis he that offers, and I scorn them all.