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"Hew down the bridge, Sir Consul,
I, with two more to help me,
May well be stopped by three.
"Horatius," quoth the Consul,
And straight against that great array
1 Hold the foe in play: keep them occupied.
2 Strait: narrow.
3 Spu'rius Lar'tius.
4 Ramnian: one of the three ancient patrician or ruling classes of Rome dating from its foundation by Romulus.
6 Titian: one of the three ancient tribes of which the Ramnian was the first. 7 Quoth: said.
For Romans in Rome's quarrel
Spared neither land nor gold,
Then none was for a party;
Then all were for the state;
Then the great man helped the poor,
Now Roman is to Roman
More hateful than a foe,
As we wax hot in faction,4
In battle we wax cold:
Wherefore men fight not as they fought
Now while the Three were tightening
1 Lands, spoils: the lands and plunder taken in war.
2 Tribunes: officers appointed to protect the interests of the common people of Rome. They could veto any measure they thought harmful. 8 Fathers: see note 4, p. 7.
4 Faction: here, political dissension or discord. 5 Harness: armor.
The Consul was the foremost man
And Fathers mixed with Commons,1
Meanwhile the Tuscan army,
Right glorious to behold,
Came flashing back the noonday light,
As that great host, with measured tread,
The Three stood calm and silent,
1 Commons: the common people. 8 Props: it was a wooden bridge. 4 Ensigns: banners.
2 Crow: crowbar. See note 10, “Janiculum," p. 7.
5 Vanguard: the advance guard.
To earth they sprang, their swords they drew
Aunus1 from green Tifernum,2
And Seius, whose eight hundred slaves
Sicken in Ilva's mines;
And Picus, long to Clusium
Vassal in peace and war,
Who led to fight his Umbrian powers
From that gray crag where, girt with towers,
O'er the pale waves of Nar.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
2 Tifer num: a town of Umbria, on the Tiber.
8 Seius (Se'yus).
4 Il'va: an island (the modern Elba) off the coast of Etruria, once noted
for its iron mines.
3 Vassal: a dependent.
7 Nequi'num: a town of Umbria.
8 Lowers having a gloomy or threatening look.
9 Nar: a river of Umbria.
Then Ocnus 1 of Falerii 2
Rushed on the Roman Three;
The Rover of the sea;
Who slew the great wild boar,
And wasted fields, and slaughtered men,
Herminius smote down Aruns:
Lartius laid Ocnus low:
"Lie there," he cried, "fell 11 pirate!
No more, aghast and pale,
From Ostia's walls the crowd shall mark
2 Fa-le'ri-i: a town of Etruria.
4 Ur'go: an island off the coast of Etruria
5 Rover here used in the sense of pirate and kidnapper.
8 Co'sa: a town of Etruria.
10 Albi'nia: a river of Etruria.
7 Volsin'ium: a city of Etruria.
9 Fen: a marsh.
11 Fell: cruel.
12 Campa'nia: a very fertile district of Italy, south of Rome, having
Naples as its chief port.
18 Hinds: farm-laborers, peasants.