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Those trees in wnose dim shadow
The ghastly priest doth reign,
The priest who slew the slayer,
And shall himself be slain;-
From the drear banks of Ufens,
Where flights of marsh-fowl play,
And buffaloes lie wallowing

Through the hot summer's day;
From the gigantic watch-towers,
No work of earthly men,
Whence Cora's sentinels o'erlook
The never-ending fen;
From the Laurentian jungle,

The wild hog's reedy home,

From the green steps whence Anio leaps

In floods of snow-white foam.


Aricia, Cora, Norba,

Velitræ, with the might Of Setia and of Tusculum,

Were marshalled on their right: Their leader was Mamilius,

Prince of the Latian name;
Upon his head a helmet

Of red gold shone like flame:
High on a gallant charger
Of dark-gray hue he rode;
Over his gilded armour

A vest cf purple flowed,
Woven in the land of sunrise

By Syria's dark-browed daughters, And by the sails of Carthage brought Far o'er the southern waters.


Lavinium and Circeium

Had on the left their post,
With all the banners of the marsh,
And banners of the coast.
Their leader was false Sextus,

That wrought the deed of shame:
With restless pace and haggard face,
To his last field he came.
Men said he saw strange visions,

Which none beside might see;

And that strange sounds were in his ears, Which none might hear but he.

A woman fair and stately,

But pale as are the dead,

Oft through the watches of the night
Sate spinning by his bed.
And as she plied the distaff,

In a sweet voice and low,
She sang of great old houses,

And fights fought long ago.
So spun she, and so sung she,

Until the east was gray;
Then pointed to her bleeding breast,
And shrieked, and fled away.


But in the centre thickest

Were ranged the shields of foes, And from the centre loudest

The cry of battle rose. There Tibur marched and Pedum Beneath proud Tarquin's rule, And Ferentinum of the rock, And Gabii of the pool.

There rode the Volscian succours There, in a dark, stern ring, The Roman exiles gathered close Around the ancient king. Though white as Mount Soracte, When winter nights are long,

His beard flowed down o'er mail and belt,
His heart and hand were strong:
Under his hoary eyebrows

Still flashed forth quenchless rage.
And if the lance shook in his gripe,
"Twas more with hate than age.
Close at his side was Titus

On an Apulian steed,
Titus, the youngest Tarquin,
Too good for such a breed.


Now on each side the leaders
Gave signal for the charge;
And on each side the footmen

Strode on with lance and targe;
And on each side the horsemen
Struck their spurs deep in gore,
And front to front the armies
Met with a mighty roar:

And under that great battle
The earth with blood was red;
And, like the Pomptine fog at morn,
The dust hung overhead;
And louder still and louder

Rose from the darkened field
The braying of the war-horns,
The clang of sword and shield,
The rush of squadrons sweeping
Like whirlwinds o'er the plain,
The shouting of the slayers,

And screeching of the slain.


False Sextus rede out foremost:
His look was high and bold;
His corslet was of bison's hide,
Plated with steel and gold.

As glares the famished eagle

From the Digentian rock,

On a choice lamb that bounds alone
Before Bandusia's flock,
Herminius glared on Sextus,
And came with eagle speed;
Herminius on black Auster,

Brave champion on brave steed.
In his right hand the broadsword
That kept the bridge so weli,
And on his helm the crown he won
When proud Fidena fell.
Wo to the maid whose lover

Shall cross his path to-day!
False Sextus saw, and trembled,
And turned, and fled away.
As turns, as flies, the woodman
In the Calabrian brake,

When through the reeds gleams the und


Of that fell painted snake;

So turned, so fled, false Sextus, And hid him in the rear, Behind the dark Lavinian ranks, Bristling with crest and spear


Then far to North Æbutius,
The Master of the Knights,
Gave Tubero of Norba

To feed the Porcian kites.
Next under those red horse-hoofs
Flaccus of Setia lay;
Better had he been pruning
Among his elms that day.
Mamilius saw the slaughter,

And tossed his golden crest,

And towards the Master of the Knights
Through the thick battle pressed.
Ebutius smote Mamilius

So fiercely on the shield,

That the great lord of Tusculum
Wellnigh rolled on the field.
Mamilius smote butius,

With a good aim and true,

Just where the neck and shoulder join, And pierced him through and through; And brave Ebutius Elva

Fell swooning to the ground: But a thick wall of bucklers Encompassed him around. His clients from the battle

Bare him some little space;

And filled a helm from the dark lake,
And bathed his brow and face;
And when at last he opened

His swimming eyes to light,
Men say, the earliest word he spake
Was, "Friends, how goes the fight?"


But meanwhile in the centre

Great deeds of arms were wrought; There Aulus the Dictator,

And there Valerius fought.
Aulus, with his good broadsword,
A bloody passage cleared

To where, amidst the thickest foes,
He saw the long white beard.
Flat lighted that good broadsword
Upon proud Tarquin's head.

He dropped the lance: he dropped the reins:
He fell as fall the dead.
Down Aulus springs to slay him,
With eyes like coals of fire;
But faster Titus hath sprung down,
And hath bestrode his sire.
Latian captains, Roman knights,

Fast down to earth they spring;
And hand to hand they fight on foot
Around the ancient king.
First Titus gave tall Cæso

A death wound in the face;
Tall Cæso was the bravest man
Of the brave Fabian race:
Aulus slew Rex of Gabii,

The priest of Juno's shrine: Valerius smote down Julius,

Of Rome's great Julian line;
Inlius, who left his mansion
High on the Velian hill,

And through all turns of weal and wo
Followed proud Tarquin still.
Now right across proud Tarquin
A corpse was Julius laid:

And Titus groaned with rage and grief,
And at Valerius made.

Valerius struck at Titus,

And lopped off half his crest; But Titus stabbed Valerius

A span deep in the breast.
Like a mast snapped by the tempest,
Valerius reeled and fell.

Ah! wo is me for the good house
That loves the people well!
Then shouted loud the Latines;

And with one rush they bore
The struggling Romans backward
Three lances' length and more:
And up they took proud Tarquin,
And laid him on a shield,
And four strong yeomen bare him,
Still senseless, from the field.

But fiercer grew the fighting

Around Valerius dead;

For Titus dragged him by the foot,
And Aulus by the head.

"On, Latines, on!" quoth Titus,
"See how the rebels fly!"
"Romans, stand firm!" quoth Aulus,
"And win this fight or die!
They must not give Valerius
To raven and to kite;

For aye Valerius loathed the wrong,
And aye upheld the right:
And for your wives and babies

In the front rank he fell.

Now play the men for the good house That loves the people well!"


Then tenfold round the body

The roar of battle rose,
Like the roar of a burning forest,

When a strong northwind blows.
Now backward, and now forward,
Rocked furiously the fray,
Till none could see Valerius,

And none wist where he lay.
For shivered arms and ensigns

Were heaped there in a mound, And corpses stiff, and dying men That writhed and gnawed the ground; And wounded horses kicking,

And snorting purple foam: Right well did such a couch befit A Consular of Rome.


But north looked the Dictator;
North looked he long and hard;
And spake to Caius Cossus,
The Captain of his Guard:
"Caius, of all the Romans

Thou hast the keenest sight;

Say, what through yonder storm of dusi Comes from the Latian right?"


Then answered Caius Cossus :
"I see an evil sight;
The banner of proud Tusculum
Comes from the Latian right,
I see the plumed horsemen;
And far before the rest

I see the dark-gray charger,
I see the purple vest;

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So Aulus spake, and turned him
Again to that fierce strife;
And Caius Cossus mounted,

And rode for death and life.
Loud clanged beneath his horse-hoofs
The helmets of the dead,
And many a curdling pool of blood
Splashed him from heel to head.
So came he far to southward,

Where fought the Roman host
Against the banners of the marsh
And banners of the coast.
Like corn before the sickle

The stout Lavinians fell,
Beneath the edge of the true sword
That kept the bridge so well.


"Herminius! Aulus greets thee; He bids thee come with speed To help our central battle,

For sore is there our need: There wars the youngest Tarquin, And there the Crest of Flame, The Tusculan Mamilius,

Prince of the Latian name.
Valerius hath fallen fighting
In front of our array,

And Aulus of the seventy fields
Alone upholds the day."


Herminius beat his bosom,

But never a word he spake:

He clapped his hands on Auster's mane; He gave the reins a shake.

Away, away went Auster

Like an arrow from the bow;

Black Auster was the fleetest steed
From Aufidus to Po.


Right glad were all the Romans

Who, in that hour of dread, Against great odds bare up the war Around Valerius dead, When from the south the cheering Rose with a mighty swell,64 Herminius comes, Herminius, Who kept the bridge so well!"


Mamilius spied Herminius, And dashed across the way. VOL. IV.-70

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Fast, fast, with heels wild spurning,
The dark-gray charger fled;
He burst through ranks of fighting men,
He sprang o'er heaps of dead.
His bridle far out-streaming,

His flanks all blood and foam,
He sought the southern mountains,
The mountains of his home.

The pass was steep and rugged,

The wolves they howled and whined; But he ran like a whirlwind up the pass, And he left the wolves behind. Through many a startled hamlet Thundered his flying feet:

He rushed through the gate of Tusculum,
He rushed up the long white street;
He rushed by tower and temple,

And paused not from his race

Till he stood before his master's door
In the stately market-place.
And straightway round him gathered
A pale and trembling crowd,
And when they knew him cries of rage
Brake forth, and wailing loud:
And women rent their tresses

For their great prince's fall:
And old men girt on their old swords,
And went to man the wall.

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And Ardea wavered on the left,

And Cora on the right.

"Rome to the charge!" cried Aulus;
"The foe begins to yield!
Charge for the hearth of Vesta!
Charge for the Golden Shield!
Let no man stop to plunder,
But slay, and slay, and slay:
The gods who live forever
Are on our side to-day."


Then the fierce trumpet-flourish
From earth to heaven arose,
The kites know well the long stern swel
That bids the Romans close.

Then the good sword of Aulus
Was lifted up to slay :
Then, like a crag down Apennine,
Rushed Auster through the fray.
But under those strange horsemen
Still thicker lay the slain;
And after those strange horses
Black Auster toiled in vain.
Behind them Rome's long battle
Came rolling on the foe,
Ensigns dancing wild above,
Blades all in line below.

So comes the Po in flood-time
Upon the Celtic plain:

So comes the squall, blacker than night,
Upon the Adrian main.
Now, by our Sire Quirinus,

It was a goodly sight

To see the thirty standards
Swept down the tide of flight.
So flies the spray of Adria

When the black squall doth blow;
So corn-sheaves in the flood-time
Spin down the whirling Po.
False Sextus to the mountains
Turned first his horse's head:
And fast fled Ferentinum,

And fast Circeium fled.
The horsemen of Nomentum
Spurred hard out of the fray;
The footmen of Velitræ

Threw shield and spear away.
And underfoot was trampled,

Amidst the mud and gore,
The banner of proud Tusculum,
That never stooped before:
And down went Flavius Faustus,
Who led his stately ranks
From where the apple blossoms wave
On Anio's echoing banks,

And Tullus of Arpinum,

Chief of the Volscian aids,
And Metius with the long fair curls,
The love of Anxur's maids,
And the white head of Vulso

The great Arician seer
And Nepos of Laurentur,

The hunter of the deer;
And in the back false Sextus

Felt the good Roman steel,
And wriggling in the dust he died,
Like a worm beneath the wheel:
And fliers and pursuers

Were mingled in a mass;

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Sempronius Atratinus

Sate in the Eastern Gate.
Beside him were three Fathers,

Each in his chair of state;
Fabius, whose nine stout grandsons
That day were in the field,
And Manlius, eldest of the Twelve
Who keep the Golden Shield;
And Sergius, the High Pontiff,
For wisdom far renowned;
In all Etruria's colleges

Was no such Pontiff found.

And all around the portal,
And high above the wall,
Stood a great throng of people,
But sad and silent all;
Young lads, and stooping elders
That might not bear the mail,
Matrons with lips that quivered,

And maids with faces pale.
Since the first gleam of daylight,
Sempronius had not ceased
To listen for the rushing

Of horse-hoofs from the east. The mist of eve was rising,

The sun was hastening down,

When he was aware of a princely pair
Fast pricking towards the town.
So like they were, man never

Saw twins so like before;
Red with gore their armour was,
Their steeds were red with gore.


"Hail to the great Asylum! Hail to the hill-tops seven!

Hail to the fire that burns for aye,

And the shield that fell from heaven!

This day, by Lake Regillus,

Under the Porcian height,

All in the lands of Tusculum

Was fought a glorious fight. To-morrow your Dictator

Shall bring in triumph home The spoils of thirty cities

To deck the shrines of Rome!"


Then burst from that great concourse

A shout that shook the towers,

And some ran north, and some ran south,
Crying, "The day is ours!"

But on rode these strange horsemen,
With slow and lcrdly pace;

And none who saw their bearing
Durst ask their name or race.
On rode they to the Forum,

While laurel-boughs and flowers,
From housetops and from windows,
Fell on their crests in showers.
When they drew nigh to Vesta,
They vaulted down amain,
And washed their horses in the well
That springs by Vesta's fane.
And straight again they mounted,
And rode to Vesta's door;
Then, like a blast, away they passed,
And no man saw them more.


And all the people trembled,
And pale grew every cheek;
And Sergius the High Pontiff

Alone found voice to speak: "The Gods who live forever

Have fought for Rome to-day! These be the Great Twin Brethren To whom the Dorians pray. Back comes the Chief in triumph,

Who, in the hour of fight,

Hath seen the Great Twin Brethren
In harness on his right.
Safe comes the ship to haven,

Through billows and through gales
If once the Great Twin Brethren
Sit shining on the sails.
Wherefore they washed their horses
In Vesta's holy well,

Wherefore they rode to Vesta's door,
I know, but may not tell.
Here, hard by Vesta's temple,
Build we a stately dome
Unto the Great Twin Brethren
Who fought so well for Rome.
And when the months returning
Bring back this day of fight,
The proud Ides of Quintilis,
Marked evermore with white,
Unto the Great Twin Brethren
Let all the people throng,
With chaplets and with offerings,
With music and with song;
And let the doors and windows

Be hung with garlands all,
And let the Knights be summoned
To Mars without the wall:
Thence let them ride in purple
With joyous trumpet-sound,
Each mounted on his war-horse,
And each with olive crowned;
And pass in solemn order

Before the sacred dome,

Where dwell the Great Twin Brethren

Who fought so well for Rome."

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