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And even the ranks of Tuscany
But fiercely ran the current,
Swollen high by months of rain: And fast his blood was flowing,
And he was sore in pain, And heavy with his armor,
And spent with changing blows: And oft they thought him sinking,
But still again he rose.
Never, I ween, did swimmer,
In such an evil case,
Safe to the landing-place:
By the brave heart within,
Bore bravely up his chin.
"Curse on him!" quoth false Sextus;
"Will not the villain drown? But for this stay, ere close of day
We should have sacked the town!" "Heaven help him!" quoth Lars Porsena,
"And bring him safe to shore; For such a gallant feat of arms
Was never seen before."
And now he feels the bottom;
Now on dry earth he stands; Now round him throng the Fathers
To press his gory hands;
And now, with shouts and clapping,
And noise of weeping loud,
Borne by the joyous crowd.
They gave him of the corn-land,
That was of public right, As much as two strong oxen
Could plow from morn till night;
And set it up on high,
To witness if I lie.
It stands in the Comitium,24
Plain for all folk to see; Horatius in his harness,
Halting upon one knee:
In letters all of gold,
In the brave days of old.
And still his name sounds stirring
Unto the men of Rome, As the trumpet-blast that cries to them
To charge the Volscian25 home; And wives still pray to Juno26
For boys with hearts as bold
24. The Comitium was the old Roman polling-place, a square situated between the Forum and the Senate House.
25. The Volscians were among the most determined of the Italian enemies of Rome.
26. Juno was the goddess who was thought of as presiding over marriage and the birth of children.
As his who kept the bridge so well
And in the nights of winter,
When the cold north-winds blow,
HORATIUS IN HIS HARNESS, HALTING UPON ONE KNEE
And the long howling of the wolves
Is heard amidst the snow;
Roar louder yet within:
When the oldest cask is opened,
And the largest lamp is lit;
And the kid turns on the spit;
When young and old in circle
Around the firebrands close; And the girls are weaving baskets,
And the lads are shaping bows;
When the goodman mends his armor,
And trims his helmet's plume; When the goodwife's shuttle merrily
Goes flashing through the loom,— With weeping and with laughter
Still is the story told, How well Horatius kept the bridge
In the brave days of old.27
27. You can tell from these last three stanzas, that Macaulay is writing his poem, not as an Englishman of the nineteenth century, but as if he were a Roman in the days when Rome, though powerful, had not yet become the luxurious city which it afterward was. That is, he thought of himself as writing in the days of the Republic, not in the days of the Empire.
LORD ULLIN'S DAUGHTER
By Thomas Campbell
CHIEFTAIN, to the Highlands
Cries, "Boatman, do not tarry!
To row us o'er the ferry."
"Now who be ye,would cross Lochgyle, This dark and stormy water?" "O, I'm the chief of Ulva's isle, And this Lord Ullin's daughter.
"And fast before her father's men
Three days we've fled together, For should he find us in the glen,
My blood would stain the heather.
"His horsemen hard behind us ride;
Should they our steps discover, Then who will cheer my bonny bride
When they have slain her lover?"
Out spoke the hardy Highland wight.
"I'll go, my chief—I'm ready; It is not for your silver bright,
But for your winsome lady:
"And by my word! the bonny bird