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left school. Niebuhr seems also to have forgotten that Martial has fellow culprits to keep him in countenance. Horace has committed the same decided blunder; for he gives us, as a pure iambic line,

“ Minacis aut Etrusca Porsenæ manus. Silius Italicus has repeatedly offended in the same way, as

when he says,

“Cernitur effugiens ardentem Porsena dextram ;"

and again,

“Clusinum vulgus, cum, Porsena magne, jubebas.” A modern writer may be content to err in such company.

Niebuhr's supposition that each of the three defenders of the bridge was the representative of one of the three patrician tribes is both ingenious and probable, and has been adopted in the following poem.




By the Nine Gods he swore
That the great house of Tarquin

Should suffer wrong no more.
By the Nine Gods he swore it,

And named a trysting day,
And bade his messengers ride forth,
East and west and south and north,
To summon his


East and west and south and north

The messengers ride fast,
And tower and town and cottage

Have heard the trumpet's blast.

Shame on the false Etruscan

Who lingers in his home, When Porsena of Clusium

Is on the march for Rome.


The horsemen and the footmen

Are pouring in amain
From many a stately market-place;

From many a fruitful plain;
From many a lonely hamlet,

Which, hid by beach and pine,
Like an eagle's nest hangs on the crest
Of purple Apennine;

4. From lordly Volaterræ,

Where scowls the far-famed hold Piled by the hands of giants

For god-like kings of old; From seagirt Populonia, Whose

sentinels descry Sardinia's snowy mountain-tops Fringing the southern sky;

5. From the proud mart of Pisæ,

Queen of the western waves, Where ride Massilia's triremes

Heavy with fair-haired slaves; From where sweet Clanis wanders

Through corn, and vines, and flowers; From where Cortona lifts to heaven

Her diadem of towers.

Tall are the oaks whose acorns

Drop in dark Auser's rill;
Fat are the stags that champ the boughs

Of the Ciminian hill;
Beyond all streams Clitumnus

Is to the herdsman dear;
Best of all pools the fowler loves

The great Volsinian mere.

7. 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.

8. The harvests of Arretium This year

old men shall reap; This year young boys in Umbro

Shall plunge the struggling sheep; And in the vats of Luna,

This year, the must shall foam Round the white feet of laughing girls,

Whose sires have marched to Rome.

9. There be thirty chosen prophets,

The wisest of the land, Who alway by Lars Porsena

Both morn and evening stand : Evening and morn the Thirty

Have turned the verses o’er, Traced from the right on linen white

By mighty seers of yore.


And with one voice the Thirty

Have their glad answer given: “Go forth, go forth, Lars Porsena,

Go forth, beloved of Heaven;
Go, and return in glory

To Clusium's royal dome,
And hang round Nurscia’s altars

The golden shields of Rome.”

11. And now hath every city

Sent up her tale of men :
The foot are fourscore thousand,

The horse are thousands ten.
Before the gates of Sutrium

Is met the great array,
A proud man was Lars Porsena

Upon the trysting day.


For all the Etruscan armies

Were ranged beneath his eye, And many a banished Roman,

And many a stout ally; And with a mighty following

To join the muster came The Tusculan Mamilius,

Prince of the Latian name.


But by the yellow Tiber

Was tumult and affright: From all the spacious champaign

To Rome men took their flight. A mile around the city,

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

Through two long nights and days.

14. For aged folk on crutches,

And women great with child, And mothers sobbing over babes

That clung to them and smiled, And sick men borne in litters

High on the necks of slaves, And troops of sun-burned husbandmen

With reaping-hooks and staves.


And droves of mules and asses

Laden with skins of wine, And endless flocks of goats and sheep,

And endless herds of kine, And endless trains of wagons

That creaked beneath their weight Of corn-sacks and of household goods,

Choked every roaring gate.

16. Now, from the rock Tarpeian,

Could the wan burghers 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 came With tidings of dismay.

17. To eastward and to westward

Have spread the Tuscan bands; Nor house, nor fence, nor dovecote,

In Crustumerium stands. Verbenna down to Ostia

Hath wasted all the plain ; Astur hath stormed Janiculum,

And the stout guards are slain.

I wis, in all the Senate,

There was no heart so bold,
But sore it ached, and fast it beat,

When that ill news was told.
Forthwith up rose the Consul,

Uprose the Fathers all; In haste they girded up


gowns, And hied them to the wall.

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