From lordly Volaterræ,

Where scowls the far-famed hold Piled by the hands of giants

For godlike kings of old ; From seagirt Populonia,

Whose sentinels descry Sardinia's snowy mountain-tops

Fringing the southern sky;

From the proud mart of Pisæ,

Queen of the western waves, Where ride Massilia's triremes

Heavy with fair-haired slares; From where sweet Clanis wanders

Through corn and vines and flowers ; From where Cortona lifts to heaven

Her diadem of towers.


Tall are the oaks whose acorns

Drop in dark Auser's rill; Fat are the stags that champ the boughs

Of the Ciminian bill;
Beyond all streams Clitumnus

Is to the herdsman dear;
Best of all pools the fowler loves

The great Volsinian mere.

But now no stroke of woodman

Is heard by Auser's rill;
No hunter tracks the stag's green path

Up the Ciminian hill; Unwatched along Clitumnus

Grazes the milk-white steer ; Unharmed the water fowl may dip

In the Volsinian mere.


The harvests of Arretium,

This year, old men shall reap, This year, young boys in Umbro

Shall plunge the struggling sheep; And in the vats of Luna,

This year, the must sball foam Round the white feet of laughing girls

Whose sires have marched to Rome.


There be thirty chosen prophets,

The wisest of the land, Who alway by Lars Porsena

Both morn and evening stand: Evening and morn the Thirty

Have turned the verses o'er, Traced from the right on linen white

By mighty seers of yore.

And with one voice the Thirty

Have their glad answer given : “Go forth, go forth, Lars Porsena ;

Go forth, beloved of Heaven ;
Go, and return in glory

To Clusium's royal dome;
And hang round Nurscia's altars

The golden shields of Rome."


And now hath every city

Sent up her tale of men;
The foot are fourscore thousand,

The horse are thousands ten:
Before the gates of Satrium

Is met the great array.
A proud man was Lars Porsena

Upon the trysting day.

[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small]


Now, from the rock Tarpeian,

Could the wan burghers spy The line of blazing villages

Red in the midnight sky.
The Fathers of the City,

They sat all night and day,
For every hour some horseman came

With tidings of dismay.


To eastward and to westward

Have spread the Tuscan bands ; Nor house, nor fence, nor dovecote

In Crustumerium stands. Verbenna down to Ostia

Hath wasted all the plain; Astur hath stormed Janiculum,

And the stout guards are slain.


I wis, in all the Senate,

There was no heart so bold,
But sore it ached, and fast it beat,

When that ill news was told,
Forthwith up rose the Consul,

Up rose the Fathers all ;
In haste they girded up their gowns,

And hied them to the wall.


They held a council standing

Before the River-Gate;
Short time was there, ye well may guess,

For musing or debate.
Out spake the Consul roundly:

"The bridge must straight go down; For, since Janiculum is lost,

Nought else can save the town."

[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small]
« VorigeDoorgaan »