Fear ever argues a degenerate kind; His birth is well asserted by his mind.
One tyrant for his fellow-tyrant fights; The Roman youth assert their native rights.
His sons, who seek the tyrant to sustain, And long for arbitrary lords again, With ignominy scourg’d, in open sight, He dooms to death deserv’d, asserting public right.
But, when he found that Juno’s pow’r prevail’d, And all the methods of cool counsel fail’d, He calls the gods to witness their offense, Disclaims the war, asserts his innocence.
Yet, if desire of fame, and thirst of pow’r, A beauteous princess, with a crown in dow’r, So fire your mind, in arms assert your right, And meet your foe, who dares you to the fight.
The Queen of Love, who, with disdain and grief, Saw the bold nymph afford this prompt relief, T’ assert her offspring with a greater deed, From the tough root the ling’ring weapon freed.
From this coarse mixture of terrestrial parts, Desire and fear by turns possess their hearts, And grief, and joy; nor can the groveling mind, In the dark dungeon of the limbs confin’d, Assert the native skies, or own its heav’nly kind: Nor death itself can wholly wash their stains; But long-contracted filth ev’n in the soul remains.
Advancing to the front, the hero stands, And, stretching out to heav’n his pious hands, Attests the gods, asserts his innocence, Upbraids with breach of faith th’ Ausonian prince; Declares the royal honor doubly stain’d, And twice the rites of holy peace profan’d.
The Latians unconcern’d shall see the fight; This arm unaided shall assert your right: Then, if my prostrate body press the plain, To him the crown and beauteous bride remain."
This day my hand thy tender age shall shield, And crown with honors of the conquer’d field: Thou, when thy riper years shall send thee forth To toils of war, be mindful of my worth; Assert thy birthright, and in arms be known, For Hector’s nephew, and Aeneas’ son."