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"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."

"Horatius," quoth the Consul,

"As thou sayest, so let it be." And straight against that great array

Forth went the dauntless Three. For Romans in Rome's quarrel

Spared neither land nor gold, Nor son nor wife, nor limb nor life,

In the brave days of old.

Then none was for a party;

Then all were for the state; Then the great man helped the poor,

And the poor man loved the great: Then lands were fairly portioned;

Then spoils were fairly sold: The Romans were like brothers

In the brave days of old.

Now while the Three were tightening

Their harness on their backs,
The Consul was the foremost man

To take in hand an axe:
And Fathers mixed with Commons17

Seized hatchet, bar, and crow,
And smote upon the planks above,

And loosed the props below.

Meanwhile the Tuscan army,

Right glorious to behold,
Came flashing back the noonday light,
Rank behind rank, like surges bright

Of a broad sea of gold.
Four hundred trumpets sounded

A peal of warlike glee,
As that great host, with measured tread,
And spears advanced, and ensigns spread,
Rolled slowly towards the bridge's head,

Where stood the dauntless Three.

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;

17. The Roman people were divided into two classes, the patricians, to whom belonged all the privileges of citizenship, and tinplebeians, who were not allowed to hold office or even to own property. Maeaulay gives the English name Commons to the plebeians.

Aunus from green Tifernum,18

Lord of the Hill of Vines;
And Seius, whose eight hundred slaves

Sicken in Ilva's mines;
And Picus, long to Clusium

Vassal in peace and war, Who led to fight his Umbrian powers From that gray crag where, girt with towers, The fortress of Xequinum lowers

O'er the pale waves of Nar,

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.

Then Ocnus of Falerii

Rushed on the Roman Three: And Lausulus of Urgo,

The rover of the sea;
And Aruns of Volsinium,

Who slew the great wild boar,
The great wild boar that had his den
Amidst the reeds of Cosa's fen,
And wasted fields, and slaughtered men,

Along Albinia's shore.

18. A discussion as to who these chiefs were, or as to where the places mentioned were located, would be profitless. The notes attempt to >»ivp only such information as will aid in understanding the story.

Herminius smote down Aruns:

Lartius laid Ocnus low:
Right to the heart of Lausulus

Horatius sent a blow.
"Lie there," he cried, "fell pirate!

No more, aghast and pale,
From Ostia's walls the crowd shall mark
The track of thy destroying bark.
No more Campania's10 hinds20 shall fly
To woods and caverns when they spy

Thy thrice accursed sail."

But now no sound of laughter

Was heard among the foes.
A wild and wrathful clamor

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 fourfold 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;

19. Campania is another name for the campagna.

20. Binds here means peasants.

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