Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

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 toward the bridge's head,

Where stood the dauntless three.

8. 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.

9. 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.

10. But now no sound of laughter

Was heard amongst the foes :
A wild and wrathful clamour

From all the vanguard rose;

[merged small][graphic][ocr errors][ocr errors]

11. 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 four-fold shield,
And in his hand he shakes the brand

Which none but he can wield.

12. He smiled on those bold Romans

A smile serene and high;
He eyed the flinching Tuscans,

And scorn was in his eye.
Quoth he, The she-wolf's litter

Stand savagely at bay;
But will ye dare to follow,

If Astur clears the way ?'

13. Then, whirling up his broadsword

With both hands to the height,
He rushed against Horatius

And smote with all his might:
With shield and blade Horatius

Right deftly turned the blow.
The blow, though turned, came yet too nigh:
It missed his helm, but gashed his thigh;
The Tuscans raised a joyful cry

To see the red blood flow.

a

14. He reeled, and on Herminius

He leaned one breathing-space;
Then, like a wild-cat mad with wounds,

Sprang right at Astur's face.
Through teeth and skull and helmet

So fierce a thrust he sped,
The good sword stood a hand-breadth out

Behind the Tuscan's head.

15. And the great Lord of Luna

Fell at that deadly stroke,
As falls on Mount Alvernus

A thunder-smitten oak:

Far o'er the crashing forest

The giant arms lie spread;
And the pale augurs, muttering low,

Gaze on the blasted head.

Ho-ra'-ti-us Her-min'-i-us hatch'-et

fier'-y cap'tain Ti'-tian

war'-like

wrath'-ful Ram'-ni-an tight'-en-ing meas'-ured ser-ene con'-sul, the title of one of the two Um'-bri-an, belonging to Umbria,

chief magistrates amongst the a part of ancient Italy northRomans.

east from Rome. van, the front part of an army. clam'-our, loud noise. quoth, said.

am'-ple, broad, wide. daunt'-less, fearless.

brand, sword. har'-ness, armour.

flinch'-ing, giving way. Fa'-thers, the chief men of old Rome. deft'-ly, smartly, cleverly. com'-mons, the common people. helm, helmet, armour for the head. crow, a large iron bar with a claw Mount Al-ver'-nus, a hill not far like the beak of a crow.

from Rome. surg'-es, waves.

aug'-urs, those who foretold events en'-signs, flags.

by observing the flight and van'-guard, the troops who march the cries of birds.

in front of the army. EXERCISES.—1. The Latin prefix trans- (which has also the forms tra-, tran-) means across, beyond, over ; as transport, to carry across ; transit, a going over; Transatlantic, beyond the Atlantic; traverse, to pass over.

2. Analyse and parse the last four lines of stanza 1.

3. Make sentences of your own, and use in each one or more of the following words : Ensigns, transport, traverse, transit.

HORATIUS AT THE BRIDGE-II. 1. But meanwhile axe and lever

Have manfully been plied ;
And now the bridge hangs tottering

Above the boiling tide.
• Come back, come back, Horatius !'

Loud cried the Fathers all.
Back, Lartius! Back, Herminius!

Back, ere the ruin fall!'

2. Back darted Spurius Lartius;

Herminius darted back;
And as they passed, beneath their feet

They felt the timbers crack.
But when they turned their faces,

And on the farther shore
Saw brave Horatius stand alone,

They would have crossed once more.

3. But with a crash like thunder

Fell every loosened beam,
And, like a dam, the mighty wreck

Lay right athwart the stream;
And a long shout of triumph

Rose from the walls of Rome,
As to the highest turret-tops

Was splashed the yellow foam.

4. Alone stood brave Horatius,

But constant still in mind,
Thrice thirty thousand foes before,

And the broad flood behind.

« ZurückWeiter »