Proxime dis consul, tantae qui prospicis urbi,
qua nihil in terris complectitur altius aether,
cuius nec spatium visus nec corda decorem
nec laudem vox ulla capit; quae luce metalli
aemula vicinis fastigia conserit astris;
quae septem scopulis zonas imitatur Olympi;
armorum legumque parens quae fundit in omnes
imperium primique dedit cunabula iuris.
haec est exiguis quae finibus orta tetendit
in geminos axes parvaque a sede profecta
dispersit cum sole manus. haec obvia fatis
innuneras uno gereret cum tempore pugnas,
Hispanas caperet, Siculas obsideret urbes
et Gallum terris prosterneret, aequore Poenum,
numquam succubuit damnis et territa nullo
vulnere post Cannas maior Trebiamque fremebat
et, cum iam premerent flammae murumque feriret
hostis, in extremos aciem mittebat Hiberos
nec stetit Oceano remisque ingressa profundum
vincendos alio quaesivit in orbe Britannos.
haec est in gremium victos quae sola recepit
humanumque genus communi nomine fovit
matris, non dominae ritu, civesque vocavit
quos domuit nexuque pio longinqua revinxit.
huius pacificis debemus moribus omnes,
quod veluti patriis regionibus utitur hospes;
quod sedem mutare licet; quod cernere Thylen
lusus et horrendos quondam penetrare recessus;
quod bibimus passim Rhodanum, potamus Orontem;
quod cuncti gens una sumus.
(Claudian, Cons. Stil. 3.130-159)
Consul, all but peer of the gods, protector of a city greater than any that upon earth
the air encompasseth, whose amplitude no eye can measure, whose beauty no imagination can picture, whose praise no voice can sound, who raises a golden head amid the neighbouring stars and with her seven hills imitates the seven regions of heaven, mother of arms and of law, who extends her sway o’er all the earth and was the earliest cradle of justice, this is the city which, sprung from humble beginnings, has stretched to either pole, and from one small place extended its power so as to be co-terminous with the sun’s light. Open to the blows of fate while at one and the same time she fought a thousand battles, conquered Spain, laid siege to the cities of Sicily, subdued Gaul by land and Carthage by sea, never did she yield to her losses nor show fear at any blow, but rose to greater heights of courage after the disasters of Cannae and Trebia, and, while the enemy’s fire threatened her, and her foe smote upon her walls, sent an army against the furthest Iberians. Nor did Ocean bar her way; launching upon the deep, she sought in another world for Britons to be vanquished. ‘Tis she alone who has received the conquered into her bosom and like a mother, not an empress, protected the human race with a common name, summoning those whom she has defeated to share her citizenship and drawing together distant races with bonds of affection. To her rule of peace we owe it that the world is our home, that we can live where we please, and that to visit Thule and to explore its once dreaded wilds is but a sport; thanks to her all and sundry may drink the waters of the Rhone and quaff Orontes’ stream, thanks to her we are all one people. (tr. Maurice Platnauer)