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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.
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.
61. 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.
In such an evil case,
Safe to the landing place :
But his limbs were borne up bravely
By the brave heart within,
“Will not the villain drown?
We should have sacked the town !"
“ And bring him safe to shore;
Was never seen before.”
And now he feels the bottom;
Now on dry earth he stands;
To press his gory hands;
And noise of weeping loud,
Borne by the joyous crowd.
They gave him of the corn-land,
That was of public right,
Could plough from morn till night;
And set it up on high,
To witness if I lie.
Ballad of Childe Waters. “ Never heavier man and horse Stemmed a midnight torrent's force; Yet through good heart and our lady's grace, At length he gained the landing-place.”
Lay of the Last Minstrel, I.
66. It stands in the Comitium,
Plain for all folk to see ; Horatius in his harness,
Halting upon one knee;
In letters all of gold,
In the brave days of old
67. And still his name sounds stirring
Unto the men of Rome, As the trumpet blast that cries to them
To charge the Volscian home;
For boys with hearts as bold
In the brave days of old.
68. And in the nights of winter,
When the cold north winds blow, And the long howling of the wolves
Is heard amidst the snow; When round the lonely cottage
Roars loud the tempest's din, And the good logs of Algidus
Roar louder yet within ;
69. When the oldest cask is opened,
And the largest lamp is lit, When the chestnuts glow in the embers,
And the kid turns on the spit; When young and old in circle
Around the firebrands close; When the girls are weaving baskets,
And the lads are shaping bows;
70. When the goodman mends his armour,
And trims his helmet's plume; When the goodwife's shuttle merrily
Goes flashing through the loom ;
Still is the story told,
In the brave days of old.
BATTLE OF THE LAKE REGILLUS.
The following poem is supposed to have been produced ninety years after the lay of Horatius. Some persons mentioned in the lay of Horatius make their appearance again, and some appellations and epithets used in the lay of Horatius have been purposely repeated; for, in an age of balladpoetry, it scarcely ever fails to happen, that certain phrases come to be appropriated to certain men and things, and are regularly applied to those men and things by every minstrel. Thus we find both in the Homeric poems and in Hesiod, βιη Ηρακληειη, περικλυτος 'Αμφιγυηεις, διακτορος 'Αγγειφoντης, επταπυλος Θηβη, Ελενης ενεκ ηυκομοιο. Thus, too, in our own national songs, Douglas is almost always the doughty Douglas : England is merry England : all the gold is red; and all the ladies are gay.
The principal distinction between the lay of Horatius and the lay of the Lake Regillus is, that the former is meant to be purely Roman, while the latter, though national in its general spirit, has a slight tincture of Greek learning and of Greek superstition. The story of the Tarquins, as it has come down to us, appears to have been compiled from the works of several popular poets; and one, at least, of those poets appears to have visited the Greek colonies in Italy, if not Greece itself, and to have had some acquaintance with the works of Homer and Herodotus. Many of the most striking adventures of the house of Tarquin, till Lucretia makes her appearance, have a Greek character. The Tarquins themselves are represented as Corinthian nobles of the great house of the Bacchiadæ, driven from the country by the tyranny of that Cypselus, the tale of whose strange escape Herodotus has related with incomparable simplicity