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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 turn'd he, as not deigning

Those craven ranks to see; Nought spake he to Lars Porsena

To Sextus nought 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:

“O Tiber ! father Tiber!

To whom the Romans pray;
A Roman's life, a Roman's arms,

Take thou in charge this day!"
So he spake, and speaking, sheath'd

The good sword by his side, And with the harness on his back

Plunged headlong in the tide.

But fiercely ran the current,

Swollen high by months of rain; And fast his blood was flowing,

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,
Struggle through such a raging flood
Safe to the landing place :

But his limbs were borne up bravely
By the brave heart within,
And our good father Tiber
Bore bravely up his chin.

And now he feels the bottom

Now on dry earth he stands;
Now round him throng the Fathers
To press his gory hands.

And now with shouts and clapping,
And noise of weeping loud,
He enters through the river-gate,
Borne by the joyous crowd.



NEWS of battle! who hath brought it?
All are thronging to the gate;
"Warder! warder! open quickly!
Man-is this a time to wait?"

And the heavy gates are open'd :

Then a murmur long and loud, And a cry of fear and wonder

Bursts from out the bending crowd, For they see in batter'd harness

Only one hard-stricken man; And his weary steed is wounded,

And his cheek is pale and wan: Spearless hangs a bloody banner

In his weak and drooping handWhat! can that be Randolph Murray,

Captain of the city band ?

Round him crush the people, crying,

“Tell us all—oh, tell us true ! Where are they who went to battle,

Randolph Murray, sworn to you? Where are they, our brothers—children ?

Have they met the English foe?
Why art thou alone, unfollow'd ?

Is it weal or is it woe?
Like a corpse, the grisly warrior

Looks from out his helm of steel ;
But no word he speaks in answer-

Only with his armèd heel
Chides his weary steed, and onward

Up the city streets they ride ;
Fathers, sisters, mothers, children,

Shrieking, praying by his side. “By the God that made thee, Randolph!

Tell us what mischance hath come,” Then he lifts his riven banner,

And the asker's voice is dumb.


Soon we heard a challenge trumpet

Sounding in the Pass below,
And the distant tramp of horses,

And the voices of the foe;
Down we crouch'd amid the bracken,

Till the Lowland ranks drew near,
Panting like the hounds in summer,

When they scent the stately deer. From the dark defile emerging,

Next we saw the squadrons come, Leslie's foot and Leven's troopers

Marching to the tuck of drum; Through the scatter'd wood of birches,

O'er the broken ground and heath, Wound the long battalion slowly,

Till they gain'd the field beneath; Then we bounded from our covert.

Judge how look'd the Saxons then, When they saw the rugged mountain

Start to life with armed men ! Like a tempest down the ridges

Swept the hurricane of steel, Rose the slogan of Macdonald

Flash'd the broadsword of Lochiel Vainly sped the withering volley

'Mongst the foremost of our bandOn we pour'd until we met them,

Foot to foot and hand to hand. Horse and man went down like drift-wood

When the floods are black at Yule,

And their carcases are whirling

In the Garry's deepest pool.
Horse and man went down before us

Living foe there tarried none
On the field of Killiecrankie,

When that stubborn fight was done.

And the evening star was shining

On Schehallion's distant head,
When we wiped our bloody broadswords,

And return'd to count the dead.
There we found him gash'd and gory,

Stretch'd upon the cumber'd plain,
As he told us where to seek him,

In the thickest of the slain.
And a smile was on his visage,

For within his dying ear
Peal'd the joyful note of triumph,

And the clansmen's clamorous cheer : So, amidst the battle's thunder,

Shot, and steel, and scorching flame, In the glory of his manhood,

Pass'd the spirit of the Graeme !



THERE is a Reaper whose name is Death,

And, with his sickle keen, He reaps the bearded grain at a breath,

And the flowers that grow between.

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