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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 for ever
Are on our side to-day."


Then the fierce trumpet-flourish
From earth to heaven arose,

The kites know well the long stern swell
That bids the Romans close.
Then the good sword of Aulus

Was lifted up to slay:
Then, like a crag down Apennine,

Rush'd 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 Laurentum,

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:

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And fliers and pursuers
Were mingled in a mass;
And far away the battle
Went roaring through the pass.


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 day-light,
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.

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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 lordly 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 house-tops 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 for ever

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.

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