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ELEGY WRITTEN IN A COUNTRY CHURCIYARD.

49

• Hard by yon wood, now smiling as in scorn,

Mutt'ring his wayward fancies he would rove; Now drooping, woful, wan, like one forlorn,

Or crazed with care, or crossed in hopeless love. One morn I missed him on the 'customed hill,

Along the heath, and near his fav’rite tree; Another came; nor yet beside the rill,

Nor up the lawn, nor at the wood was he; The next, with dirges due, in sad array,

Slow through the church-way path we saw him borne :Approach and read (for thou canst read) the lay

Graved on the stone beneath yon aged thorn.'

THE EPITAPH.'

Here rests his head upon the lap of Earth,

A youth, to Fortune and to Fame unknown: Fair Science frowned not on his humble birth,

And Melancholy mark’d him for her own. Large was his bounty, and his soul sincere ;

Heaven did a recompense as largely send: He gave to Mis’ry all he had, a tear;

He gain’d from Heav'n ('twas all he wish’d) a friend. No further seek his merits to disclose,

Or draw his frailties from their dread abode, (There they alike in trembling hope repose), The bosom of his Father and his God.

Gray.

E

THE DEFENCE OF THE BRIDGE AGAINST THE

TUSCAN ARMY.

But the Consul's brow was sad,

And the Consul's speech was low,
And darkly looked he at the wall,

And darkly at the foe.
Their van will be upon us

Before the bridge goes down;
And if they once may win the bridge,

What hope to save the town?'
Then out spake brave Horatius,

The Captain of the Gate :
• To every man upon this earth

Death cometh soon or late.
And how can man die better

Than facing fearful odds,
For the ashes of his fathers,

And the temples of his Gods ?

Hew down the bridge, Sir Consul,

With all the speed ye may;
I, with two more to help me,

Will hold the foe in play.
In yon strait path a thousand

May well be stopped by three.
Now who will stand on either hand,

And keep the bridge with me?'
Then out spake Spurius Lartius;

A Ramnian proud was he:
• Lo, I will stand at thy right hand,

And keep the bridge with thee.'
And out spake strong Herminius ;

Of Titian blood was he:
"I will abide on thy left side,

And keep the bridge with thee.'

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The Three stood calm and silent,

And looked upon the foes,
And a great shout of laughter

From all the vanguard rose :
And forth three chiefs came spurring

Before that deep array;
To earth they sprang, their swords they drew,
And lifted high their shields, and flew

To win the narrow way;

Stout Lartius hurled down Aunus

Into the stream beneath :
Herminius struck at Seius,

And clove him to the teeth :
At Picus brave Horatius

Darted one fiery thrust;
And the proud Umbrian's gilded arms

Clashed in the bloody dust.

THE DEFENCE OF THE BRIDGE AGAINST

THE TUSCAN ARMY-continued.

But now no sound of laughter

Was heard among the foes.
A wild and wrathful clamour

From all the vanguard rose.
Six spears' lengths from the entrance

Halted that deep array,
And for a space no man came forth

To win the narrow way:
But hark! the cry is Astur:

And lo! the ranks divide;
And the great Lord of Luna

Comes with his stately stride.
Upon his ample shoulders

Clangs loud the four-fold shield,
And in his hand he shakes the brand

Which none but he can wield.

He smiled on those bold Romans

A smile serene and high;
He eyed the flinching Tuscans,

And scorn was in his eye.
Quoth heThe she-wolf's litter

Stand savagely at bay:
But will ye dare to follow,
If Astur clears the

way

. ?'

DEFENCE OF THE BRIDGE AGAINST THE TUSCAN ARMY.

53

Then, whirling up his broadsword

With both hands to the height,
He rushed against Horatius,

And smote with all his might.
With shield and blade Horatius

Right deftly turned the blow.
The blow, though turned, came yet too nigh,
It missed his helm, but gashed his thigh :
The Tuscans raised a joyful cry

To see the red blood flow.
He reeled, and on Herminius

He leaned one breathing-space;
Then, like a wild cat mad with wounds,

Sprang right at Astur's face.
Through teeth, and skull, and helmet

So fierce a thrust he sped,
The good sword stood a hand-breadth out

Behind the Tuscan's head.
And the great Lord of Luna

Fell at that deadly stroke,
As falls on Mount Alvernus

A thunder-smitten oak,
Far o'er the crashing forest

The giant arms lie spread;
And the pale augurs, muttering low,

Gaze on the blasted head.

THE DEFENCE OF THE BRIDGE AGAINST

THE TUSCAN ARMY-concluded.

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