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Piled by the hands of giants
From the proud mart of Pisa,1
Tall are the oaks whose acorns
Fat are the stags that champ 5 the boughs
Of the Ciminian 6 hill;
Is to the herdsman dear;
1 Populo'nia, Pi'sæ, Corto'na: cities of Etruria.
2 Massil'ia: a Greek colony in Gaul, the modern Marseille, France. The tri'remes were vessels propelled by three banks of oars on each side, one bank or row above the other. The "fair-haired slaves" were natives of Gaul obtained from the interior of the country.
8 Clǎn'is: a river of Etruria emptying into the Tiber.
4 Au'ser: a stream of Northern Etruria.
6 Cimin'ian hill: a hill in Etruria.
5 Champ: chew.
7 Clitum'nus: a river of Umbria, a district joining Etruria on the east. The meadows of the river were famous for their milk-white herds of cattle.
Best of all pools the fowler loves
But now no stroke of woodman
No hunter tracks the stag's green path
The harvests of Arretium,2
This year, old men shall reap,
This year, the must shall foam
There be thirty chosen prophets,5
The wisest of the land,
1 Volsinian mere: a lake or sheet of stagnant water in Etruria.
2 Arre'ti-um and Lu'na: cities of Etruria.
3 Um'bro: probably the river of that name in Etruria; as the men would all be engaged in the war against Rome, the boys would be left to wash the sheep at shearing time.
4 Must the juice of grapes for wine. vat, and the juice pressed out by men or girls 5 Prophets these so-called "prophets "
The grapes are thrown into a treading them with bare feet. were sorcerers, who undertook
Who alway by Lars Porsena
Have turned the verses 1 o'er,
Traced from the right on linen white 2
to discover the will of the gods by examining the entrails of victims offered in sacrifice, by the flight of birds, and other signs.
1 Verses: these were probably similar to those of the famous Sibylline books which a sibyl or prophetess sold to Tarquin, king of Rome, and which professed to foretell the future of the nation. They were consulted in all emergencies concerning the city. So Lars Porsena now consults his books of prophecy, to learn whether his expedition will prove successful. 2 The Etruscans wrote from right to left.
8 Nur'scia: perhaps the guardian deity of Clusium.
4 Tale: number or quota.
5 Su'trium: a town of Etruria.
The throng stopped up the ways;
Through two long nights and days.
For droves of mules and asses
Laden with skins of wine,
And endless flocks of goats and sheep,
And endless herds of kine,
1 Mamil'ius: of Tusculum, a town of La'tium, a country south of Rome. Mamilius was son-in-law to Tarquin, the banished king.
2 Latian: relating to Latium, an ancient district of Italy; Latin.
8 Champaign: a flat, open country; here, the great plain around Rome. 4 Skins of wine: bags made of goat or other skins, for carrying or holding wine.
And endless trains of wagons
Now, from the rock Tarpeian,2
Red in the midnight sky.
They sat all night and day,
To eastward and to westward
Have spread the Tuscan bands; 5
Hath wasted all the plain;
1 Gate: Rome was protected by walls and gates.
2 Rock Tarpe'ian: a high, precipitous rock in Rome; criminals were frequently thrown from it.
8 Burghers citizens.
4 Fathers of the City: the senators or governing body of the city.
5 Tuscan bands: Tuscan is another name for Etruscan or Etrurian.
6 Crustume'rium: a town of the Sabine country not far from Rome, and
belonging to it.
7 Verben'na: one of the Etruscan leaders under Lars Porsena.
8 Os'tia: the port of Rome, at the mouth of the Tiber.
9 As'tur: an Etruscan leader.
10 Janic'ulum: a fortified hill west of Rome, beyond the Tiber. It was