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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;
"Herminius comes, Herminius,
Who kept the bridge so well!"


Mamilius spied Herminius,

And dashed across the way. Herminius! I have sought thee Through many a bloody day. One of us two, Herminius,

Shall never more go home.
I will lay on for Tusculum,
And lay thou on for Rome!"


All round them paused the battle,
While met in mortal fray
The Roman and the Tusculan,

The horses black and grey. Herminius smote Mamilius

Through breast-plate and through breast; And fast flowed out the purple blood Over the purple vest.

Mamilius smote Herminius

Through head-piece and through head; And side by side those chiefs of pride Together fell down dead.

Down fell they dead together

In a great lake of gore;

And still stood all who saw them fall
While men might count a score.


Fast, fast, with heels wild spurning,
The dark-grey 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:

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But, like a graven image,
Black Auster kept his place,
And ever wistfully he looked
Into his master's face.
The raven-mane that daily,
With pats and fond caresses,
The young Herminia washed and combed,

And twined in even tresses,
And decked with coloured ribands

From her own gay attire,
Hung sadly o'er her father's corpse
In carnage and in mire.

Forth with a shout sprang Titus,

And seized black Auster's rein.
Then Aulus sware a fearful oath,
And ran at him amain.
"The furies of thy brother
With me and mine abide,
If one
of your accursed house
Upon black Auster ride!"

As on an Alpine watch-tower

From heaven comes down the flame,

Full on the neck of Titus

The blade of Aulus came:
And out the red blood spouted,
In a wide arch and tall,
As spouts a fountain in the court
Of some rich Capuan's hall.

The knees of all the Latines
Were loosened with dismay
When dead, on dead Herminius,
The bravest Tarquin lay.


And Aulus the Dictator

Stroked Auster's raven mane,
With heed he looked unto the girths,
With heed unto the rein.

"Now bear me well, black Auster,

Into yon thick array;

And thou and I will have revenge
For thy good lord this day."


So spake he; and was buckling
Tighter black Auster's band,
When he was aware of a princely pair
That rode at his right hand.
So like they were, no mortal

Might one from other know:
White as snow their armour was:
Their steeds were white as snow.
Never on earthly anvil

Did such rare armour gleam;
And never did such gallant steeds
Drink of an earthly stream.

And all who saw them trembled,
And pale grew every cheek;

And Aulus the Dictator

Scarce gathered voice to speak. "Say by what name men call you? What city is your home? And wherefore ride ye in such guise Before the ranks of Rome?"



"By many names men call us;

In many lands we dwell:
Well Samothracia knows us;
Cyrene knows us well.
Our house in gay Tarentum
Is hung each morn with flowers:
High o'er the masts of Syracuse
Our marble portal towers:
But by the proud Eurotas

Is our dear native home;
And for the right we come to fight
Before the ranks of Rome."


So answered those strange horsemen,
And each couched low his spear;
And forthwith all the ranks of Rome
Were bold, and of good cheer:
And on the thirty armies

Came wonder and affright, And Ardea wavered on the left, And Cora on the right. "Rome to the charge!" cried Aulus; "The foe begins to yield!

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