The Civil War: Ironweed American Newspapers and Periodicals Project

by Brayton Harris
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"He Stands The Shadow Of A Mighty Name"

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Last Updated on May 7, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 193

Context: Pharsalia, Lucan's epic account of the civil war in Rome, depicts the struggle for power between Caesar and Pompey, though many other historic figures appear in the poem. Cato, for instance, the incompetent chief of the opposition party when Caesar returns to Rome because of internal affairs, stands as...

(The entire section contains 193 words.)

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Context: Pharsalia, Lucan's epic account of the civil war in Rome, depicts the struggle for power between Caesar and Pompey, though many other historic figures appear in the poem. Cato, for instance, the incompetent chief of the opposition party when Caesar returns to Rome because of internal affairs, stands as an old soldier, enjoying the plaudits of his past. Rowe's translation reads:

Victorious Caesar by the gods was crown'd,
The vanquish'd party was by Cato own'd.
Nor came the rivals equal to the field;
One to increasing years began to yield,
Old age come creeping in the peaceful gown,
And civil functions weigh'd the soldier down;
Disus'd to arms, he turn'd him to the laws,
And pleased himself with popular applause;
With gifts and liberal bounty sought for fame,
And lov'd to hear the vulgar shout his name;
In his own theatre rejoic'd to sit,
Amidst the noisy praises of the pit.
Careless of future ills that might betide,
No aid he sought to prop his failing side,
But on his former fortune much rely'd.
Still seem'd he to possess, and fill his place;
But stood the shadow of what once he was.

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