Through meadow and glade,
In sun and in shade,
And through the wood shelter,
Among crags and its flurry,

How does the water come down at Lodore?
Here it comes sparkling,
And there it lies darkling;
Here smoking and frothing,
Its tumult and wrath in,
It hastens along, conflicting, and strong,

Now striking and raging,
As if a war waging,

Its caverns and rocks among.

Rising and leaping,
Sinking and creeping,
Swelling and flinging,
Showering and springing,
Eddying and whisking,
Spouting and frisking,
Twining and twisting,

Around and around,
Collecting, disjecting,

With endless rebound;
Smiting and fighting,
A sight to delight in ;
Confounding, astounding,
Dizzing and deafening the ear with its sound.

Reeding and speeding,
And shocking and rocking,
And darting and parting,
And threading and spreading,
And whizzing and hissing,
And dripping and skipping,
And whitening and brightening,
And quivering and shivering,
And hitting and splitting,
And shining and twining,

And rattling and battling,
And shaking and quaking,
And pouring and roaring,
And waving and raving,
And tossing and crossing,
And flowing and growing,
And running and stunning,
And hurrying and skurrying,
And glittering and frittering,
And gathering and feathering,
And dinning and spinning,
And foaming and roaming,
And dropping and hopping,
And working and jerking,
And heaving and cleaving,
And thundering and floundering;

And falling and crawling and sprawling,
And driving and riving and striving,
And sprinkling and twinkling and wrinkling,
And sounding and bounding and rounding,
And bubbling and troubling and doubling,
Dividing and gliding and sliding,

And grumbling and rumbling and tumbling,
And clattering and battering and shattering;

And gleaming and steaming and streaming and beaming,
And rushing and flushing and brushing and gushing,
And flapping and rapping and clapping and slapping,
And curling and whirling and purling and twirling,
Retreating and beating and meeting and sheeting,
Delaying and straying and playing and spraying,
Advancing and prancing and glancing and dancing,
Recoiling, turmoiling and toiling and boiling,
And thumping and flumping and bumping and jumping,
And dashing and flashing and splashing and clashing,—
And so never ending, but always descending,
Sounds and motions for ever and ever are blending,
All at once and all o'er, with a mighty uproar-
And this way the water comes down at Lodore.


WITHIN Rome's Forum suddenly
A wide gap open'd in a night,
Astounding those who gazed on it,
A strange, terrific sight.

In Senate all their sages met,

And seated in their chairs of state, Their faces blanch'd with deadly fear, Debated long and late.

A sign inimical to Rome,

They deem'd it a prognostic dire,
A visitation from the gods,
In token of their ire.

Yet how to have their minds resolved,
How ascertain in this their need,
Beyond the shadow of a doubt,
If thus it were indeed.

In silence brooded they awhile,
Unbroken by a single word,
While from the capital without

The lightest sounds were heard.
Then rose the eldest magistrate,

A tall old man with locks like snow, Straight as a dart, and with an eye

That oft had quell'd the foe.

And thus with ripe, sonòrous voice, No note or tone of which did shake, Or indicate the wear of time,

The aged Nestor spake :"Fathers, the Oracle is nigh,

To it then let us promptly send, And at the shrine inquire what this Dread marvel doth portend.

"And if to Rome it augurs ill,
Then ask we, ere it be too late,
How we may best avert the doom,
And save the sacred state:

"That state to every Roman dear,
As dear as brother, friend, or wife,
For which each true-born son would give,
If needful, even life.

"For what, O Fathers! what were life Apart from altar, hearth, and home; Yea, is not all our highest good,

Bound up with that of Rome? "And now adjourn we for a space,

Till three full days have circled round, And on the morning of the fourth,

Let each one here be found."

Then gat they up and gloomily
For such short interval did part,
For they were Romans staunch and tried,
And sad was every heart.

The fourth day dawn'd, and when they met,
The Oracle's response was known:
Something most precious in the chasm
To close it must be thrown.

But if unclosed it shall remain,

Thereon shall follow Rome's decay, And all the splendour of her state Shall pale and pass away.

Something most precious! What the gift
That may prevent the pending fate,
What costly offering will the gods
Indeed propitiate?

While this they ponder'd, lo a sound
Of footsteps fell on every ear,
And in their midst a Roman youth
Did presently appear.

Apollo's brow, a mien like Mars,
In Beauty's mould he seem'd new made,
As on his golden hair the sun
With dazzling dalliance play'd.

'Tis Marcus Curtius! purer blood

None there could boast, and none more brave: There stands the youthful patriot, come, A Roman, Rome to save.

His own young life, he offers that,

Yea, volunteers himself to throw Within the cleft to make it close,

And stay the heavy woe.

And now on horseback, fully arm'd,
Behold him, for the hour hath come,
The Roman guards keep watch and ward,
And beats the muffled drum.
The consuls, proctors, soothsayers,

Within the Forum group around,
Young Curtius in the saddle sits,

There yawns the sever'd ground. Each pulse is stay'd, he lifts his helm, And bares his forehead to the sky, And to the broad, blue heav'n above, Upturns his flashing eye.

"O Rome! O country best belov'd,
Thou land in which I first drew breath,
I render back the life thou gav'st,
To rescue thee from death."

Then spurring on his gallant steed,

A last and brief farewell he said, And leapt within the gaping gulf, Which closed above his head.


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