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Piled by the hands of giants
For godlike kings of old;
From sea-girt Populonia,1
Whose sentinels descry
Sardinia's snowy mountain-tops
Fringing the southern sky;


From the proud mart of Pisa,1
Queen of the western waves,
Where ride Massilia's triremes 2
Heavy with fair-haired slaves;
From where sweet Clanis 3 wanders
Through corn and vines and flowers;
From where Cortona 1 lifts to heaven
Her diadem of towers.


Tall are the oaks whose acorns
Drop in dark Auser's 4 rill;

Fat are the stags that champ 5 the boughs

Of the Ciminian 6 hill;
Beyond all streams Clitumnus 7

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
The great Volsinian mere.1


But now no stroke of woodman
Is heard by Auser's rill;

No hunter tracks the stag's green path
Up the Ciminian hill;
Unwatched along Clitumnus
Grazes the milk-white steer;
Unharmed the water fowl may dip
In the Volsinian mere.


The harvests of Arretium,2

This year, old men shall reap,
This year, young boys in Umbro 3
Shall plunge the struggling sheep;
And in the vats of Luna,2

This year, the must shall foam
Round the white feet of laughing girls
Whose sires have marched to Rome.


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

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Who alway by Lars Porsena
Both morn and evening stand:
Evening and morn the Thirty

Have turned the verses 1 o'er,

Traced from the right on linen white 2
By mighty seers of yore.

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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.

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The throng stopped up the ways;
A fearful sight it was to see

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
That creaked beneath the weight
Of corn-sacks and of household goods,
Choked every roaring gate.1


Now, from the rock Tarpeian,2
Could the wan burghers 3 spy
The line of blazing villages

Red in the midnight sky.
The Fathers of the City,

They sat all night and day,
For every hour some horseman camé
With tidings of dismay.


To eastward and to westward

Have spread the Tuscan bands; 5
Nor house, nor fence, nor dovecot
In Crustumerium 6 stands.
Verbenna7 down to Ostia 8

Hath wasted all the plain;
Astur hath stormed Janiculum,10
And the stout guards are slain.

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

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