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The want that keep their silence, till from Thee
Thou dost hide
Thou madest us for Thine;
ILLUSTRATIONS OF THE DIFFERENT VARIETIES O) STRESS. HORATIUS.
(AT THE BRIDGE,)
“ Hew down the bridge, Sir Consul,
With all the speed ye may ;
Will hold the foe in play.
May well be stopped by three.
And keep the bridge with me?”
Then out spake Spurius Lartius,
A Ramnian proud was he:
And out spake strong Herminius,
Of Titian blood was he: “I will abide on thy left side,
And keep the bridge with thee."
“ Horatius,” quoth the Consul,
“ As thou sayest, so let it be.” And straight against that great array
Forth went the dauntless Three.
Spared neither land nor gold,
In the brave days of old.
Now, while the Three were tightening
Their harness on their backs,
To take in hand an axe;
Seized hatchet, bar, and crow,
And loosed the props below.
Meanwhile the Tuscan army,
Right glorious to behold,
Of a broad sea of gold.
A peal of warlike glee,
Where stood the dauntless Three.
The Three stood calm and silent,
And looked upon the foes,
From all the vanguard rose:
Before that mighty mass;
To earth they sprang, their swords they drew And lifted high their shields, and flew
To win the narrow pass.
But all Etruria's noblest
Felt their hearts sink to see On the earth the bloody corpses,
In the path the dauntless Three:
Where those bold Romans stood,
Lies amidst bones and blood.
Was none who would be foremost
To lead such dire attack;
And those before cried « Back!”
Wavers the deep array;
Dies fitfully away.
Yet one man for one moment
Strode out before the crowd ;
And they gave him greeting loud. 66 Now welcome, welcome, Sextus!
Now welcome to thy home!
Here lies the road to Rome.”
Thrice looked he on the city;
Thrice looked he on the dead; And thrice came on in fury,
And thrice turned back in dread; And, white with fear and hatred,
Scowled at the narrow way
Where, wallowing in a pool of blood,
The bravest Tuscans lay.
But meanwhile axe and lever
Have manfully been plied,
Above the boiling tide.
Loud cried the Fathers all. Back, Lartius! back, Herminius!
Back, ere the ruin fall!”
Back darted Spurius Lartius;
Herminius darted back:
They felt the timbers crack.
And on the farther shore
They would have crossed once more.
But with a crash like thunder
Fell every loosened beam,
Lay right athwart the stream:
Rose from the walls of Rome, As to the highest turret-tops
Was splashed the yellow foam.
And like a horse unbroken
When first he feels the rein, The furious river struggled hard,
And tossed his tawny mane ;
Rejoicing to be free;
Rushed headlong to the sea.
Alone stood brave Horatius,
But constant still in mind; Thrice thirty thousand foes before,
And the broad flood behind.
“Down with him!” cried false Sextus,
With a smile on his pale face. “ Now yield thee,” cried Lars Porsena,
“Now yield thee to our grace.” Round turned he, as not deigning
Those craven ranks to see; Naught spake he to Lars Porsena,
To Sextus naught spake he; But he saw on Palatinus
The white porch of his home; And he spake to the noble river
That rolls by the towers of Rome.
s. Oh, Tiber! father Tiber!
To whom the Romans pray,
Take thou in charge this day!”
The good sword by his side,
Plunged headlong in the tide.
No sound of joy or sorrow
Was heard from either bank; But friends and foes in dumb surprise, With parted lips and straining eyes,
Stood gazing where he sank; And when above the surges
They saw his crest appear, All Rome sent forth a rapturous cry, And even the ranks of Tuscany
Could scarce forbear to cheer.
But fiercely ran the current,
Swollen high by months of rain: And fast his blood was
And he was sore in pain, And heavy with his armour,
* And spent with changing blows: And oft they thought him sinking,
But still again he rose. Never, I ween, did swimmer,
In such an evil case,