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Fat are the stags that champ the boughs Of the Ciminian hill;
Beyond all streams Clitumnus
Is to the herdsman dear;
But now no stroke of woodman
Is heard by Auser's rill;
No hunter tracks the stag's green path
Grazes the milk-white steer;
The harvests of Arretium,
This year, old men shall reap; This year, young boys in Umbro
Shall plunge the struggling sheep; And in the vats of Luna,
This year, the must shall foam Round the white feet of laughing girls, Whose sires have marched to Rome.
There be thirty chosen prophets,
Both morn and evening stand: Evening and morn the Thirty
Have turned the verses o'er,
Traced from the right on linen white
By mighty seers of yore.
And with one voice the Thirty
Have their glad answer given:
To Clusium's royal dome;
And now hath every city
Is met the great array,
For all the Etruscan armies
Prince of the Latian name.
But by the yellow Tiber
The throng stopped up the ways;
For aged folk on crutches,
That clung to them and smiled,
High on the necks of slaves, And troops of sun-burned husbandmen With reaping-hooks and staves,
And droves of mules and asses
And endless flocks of goats and sheep,
That creaked beneath their weight Of corn-sacks and of household goods, Choked every roaring gate.
Now, from the rock Tarpeian,
The line of blazing villages
To eastward and to westward
Have spread the Tuscan bands; Nor house, nor fence, nor dovecote, In Crustumerium stands.
Verbenna down to Ostia
Hath wasted all the plain; Astur hath stormed Janiculum, And the stout guards are slain.
I wis, in all the Senate,
They held a council standing
Before the River-gate;
Short time was there, ye well may guess, For musing or debate.
Out spoke the Consul roundly:
"The bridge must straight go down;
For, since Janiculum is lost,
Just then a scout came flying,
All wild with haste and fear: "To arms! to arms! Sir Consul;
Lars Porsena is here."
On the low hills to westward
And nearer fast and nearer
Doth the red whirlwind come;
Now through the gloom appears,
And plainly and more plainly,
Above that glimmering line, Now might ye see the banners Of twelve fair cities shine;