« PreviousContinue »
30. But, like a graven image,
Black Auster kept his place, And ever wistfully he looked
Into his master's face. The raven-mane that daily,
With pats and fond caresses, The young Herminia washed and combed,
And twined in even tresses,
From her own gay attire,
In carnage and in mire.
sprang Titus, And seized Black Auster's rein, Then Aulus sware a fearful oath,
And ran at him amain. " The furies of thy brother
With me and mine abide, If one of your accursed house
Upon Black Auster ride!” As on an Alpine watch-tower
From Heaven comes down the flame, Full on the neck of Titus
The blade of Aulus came:
In a wide arch and tall,
of some rich Capuan's hall. The knees of all the Latines
Were loosened with dismay When dead, on dead Herminius, The bravest Tarquin lay.
31. And Aulus the Dictator
Stroked Auster's raven mane, With heed he looked unto the girths,
With heed unto the rein. " Now bear me well, Black Auster, Into yon
array; And thou and I will have revenge
For thy good lord this day."
32. So spake he; and was buckling
Tighter Black Auster's band, When he was aware of a princely pair
That rode at his right hand. So like they were, no mortal
Might one from other know: White as snow their armour was:
Their steeds were white as snow. Never on earthly anvil
Did such rare armour gleam; And never did such gallant steeds Drink of an earthly stream.
33. And all who saw them trembled,
And pale grew every cheek; And Aulus the Dictator
Scarce gathered voice to speak.
What city is your home?
In many lands we dwell: Well Samothracia knows us :
Cyrene knows us well. Our house in gay Tarentum
Is hung each morn with flowers : High o'er the masts of Syracuse
Our marble portal towers :
Is our dear native home;
35. So answered those strange horsemen,
And each couched low his spear; And forthwith all the ranks of Rome
Were bold, and of good cheer:
And on the thirty armies
Came wonder and affright, And Ardea wavered on the left,
And Cora on the right. “Rome to the charge !” cried Aulus;
“ The foe begins to yield ! Charge for the hearth of Vesta !
Charge for the Golden Shield !
But slay, and slay, and slay :
From earth to heaven arose, The kites know well the long stern swell
That bids the Romans close.
Was lifted up to slay :
Rushed Auster through the fray.
Still thicker lay the slain; And after those strange horses
- Black Auster toiled in vain. Behind them Rome's long battle
Came rolling on the foe,
Blades all in line below.
Upon the Celtic plain :
Upon the Adrian main.
It was a goodly sight
Swept down the tide of flight.
When the black squall doth blow; So corn sheaves in the flood-time
Spin down the whirling Po.
False Sextus to the mountains
Turned first his horse's head : And fast fled Ferentinum,
And fast Circeium fled. The horsemen of Nomentum
Spurred hard out of the fray; The footmen of Velitræ
Threw shield and spear away. And underfoot was trampled,
Amidst the mud and gore, The banner of proud Tusculum,
That never stooped before : And down went Flavius Faustus,
Who led his stately ranks From where the apple blossoms wave
On Anio's echoing banks, And Tullus of Arpinum,
Chief of the Volscian aids, And Metius with the long fair curls,
The love of Auxur's maids, And the white head of Vulso,
The great Arician seer, And Nepos of Laurentum,
The hunter of the deer;
Felt the good Roman steel,
Like a worm beneath the wheel : And fliers and pursuers
Were mingled in a mass;
37. Sempronius Atratinus
Sate in the Eastern Gate. Beside him were three Fathers,
Each in his chair of state; Fabius, whose nine stout grandsons
That day were in the field,
Who keep the Golden Shield;
And Sergius, the High Pontiff
Was no such Pontiff found.
And high above the wall,
But sad and silent all;
That might not bear the mail,
And maids with faces pale.
Sempronius had not ceased
Of horse-hoofs om the east.
The sun was hastening down,
Fast pricking towards the town.
Saw twins so like before ;
Hail to the hill-tops seven !
And the shield that fell from heaven !
Under the Porcian height,
Was fought a glorious fight.
Shall bring in triumph home
To deck the shrines of Rome!”
Then burst from that great concourse
A shout that shook the towers, VOL. IV.-28