In broken gleams of dark-blue light,
Lo, I will stand at thy right hand,
As that great host, with measured tread,
A Romans life, a Romans arms,
Now yield thee, cried Lars Porsena,
Mingled of wrath, and shame, and dread,
And forth three chiefs came spurring
In haste they girded up their gowns,
As thou sayest, so let it be.
Down with him! cried false Sextus,
And hang round Nurscias altars
Rolled slowly towards the bridges head,
Struggle through such a raging flood
All Rome sent forth a rapturous cry,
The good sword stood a hand-breadth out
Traced from the right on linen white
Now yield thee to our grace!
I will abide on thy left side,
Heaven help him! quoth Lars Porsena,
Lays of Ancient Rome, Lord Macaulay, Josiah Bunting (Introduction)
Round the white feet of laughing girls
Hew down the bridge, Sir Consul,
Come back, come back, Horatius!
Curse on him! quoth false Sextus;
And louder still and still more loud,
To advertise here, pleasecontact us.
From Ostias walls the crowd shall mark
And straight against that great array
Wherefore men fight not as they fought
Back, Lartius! back, Herminius!
Of corn-sacks and of household goods,
And lifted high their shields, and flew
When the chestnuts glow in the embers,
With parted lips and straining eyes,
No hunter tracks the stags green path
Quoth he, The she-wolfs litter
And keep the bridge with thee.
And see, he cried, the welcome,
Then, like a wild cat mad with wounds
The bridge must straight go down;
Lie there, he cried, fell pirate!
Where, growling low, a fierce old bear
Short time was there, ye well may guess,
We should have sacked the town!
Have heard the trumpets blast.
As the trumpet-blast that cries to them
And keep the bridge with thee.
Come flashing back the noonday light,
The great wild boar that had his den
Thomas Babington Macaulay, Lord Macaulay
And the proud Umbrians gilded arms
But friends and foes in dumb surprise,
To earth they sprang, their swords they drew,
And Seius, whose eight hundred slaves
From that grey crag where, girt with towers,
And thrice and four times tugged amain,
And if they once may win the bridge,
It missed his helm, but gashed his thigh:
Horatius, quoth the Consul,
Through teeth, and skull, and helmet
And wasted fields, and slaughtered men,
Six spears lengths from the entrance
Nor son nor wife, nor limb nor life,
Fat are the stags that champ the boughs
Like an eagles nest, hangs on the crest
The blow, though turned, came yet too nigh;
Go forth, go forth, Lars Porsena;
And the Consuls speech was low,
And, as they passed, beneath their feet
But sore it ached, and fast it beat,
By port and vest, by horse and crest,
Amidst the reeds of Cosas fen,
Nought else can save the town.
When the goodwifes shuttle merrily
No more Campanias hinds shall fly
But those behind cried Forward!
Where, wallowing in a pool of blood,
And whirling down, in fierce career,
And endless flocks of goats and sheep,
Rank behind rank, like surges bright
Is heard the trumpets war-note proud,
Girt with the brand none else may wield,
And those before cried Back!
And spears advanced, and ensigns spread,