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And still his name sounds stirring
I into'the men of Rome, A.i 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
H.i.ii-n ioud 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;
Around the firebrands close;
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; With weeping and with laughter
'Still is the story told, How well Horatius kept the bridge In the brave days of old.
THE BATTLE OF THE LAKE REGILLUS.
Tmk following poem is supposed to have zeea 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 ballad-poetry, 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, 0i» 'Hg*jt>.*u'a, vtguUt/Tct 'Aju^viiu;, JianTcgcc 'Afytipirriit, KrraTuA6c &«',£*, "EAinic t«*' tijiciwAs. 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 Bacchiada:, driven from their country by the tyranny of that Cypselus, the tale of whose strange escape Herodotus has related with incomparable simplicity and liveliness.* Livy and Dionysius tell us that, when Tarquin the Proud was asked what was the best mode of governing a conquered city, he replied only by beating down with his staff all the tallest poppies in his garden.f This is exactly what Herodotus, in the passage to which reference has already been made, relates of the counsel given to Periander, the son of Cypselus. The stratagem by which the town of Gabii is brought under the power of the Tarquins is, again, obviously copied from Herodotus.f The embassy of the young Tarquins to the oracle at Delphi is just such a story as would be told by a poet whose head was full of the Greek mythology; and the ambiguous answer returned by Apollo is in the exact style of the prophecies which, according to Herodotus, lured Croesus to destruction. Then the character of the narrative changes. From the first mention of Lucretia to the retreat of
Porsena nothing seems to be borrowed from foreign sources. The villany of Sextus, the suicide of his victim, the revolution, the death of the sons of Brutus, the defence of the bridge, Mucius burning his hand,* Cloolia swimming through Tiber, seem to be all strictly Roman. But when we have done with the Tuscan war, and enter upon the war with the Latines, we are again struck by the Greek air of ihe siory. The Battle of the Lake Regillus is in all respects a Homeric battle, except that the combatants ride astride on their horses, instead of driving chariots. The mass of fighting men is hardly mentioned. The leaders single each other out, and engage hand to hand. The great object of the warriors on both sides is, as in the Iliad, to obtain possession of the spoils and bodies of the slain; and several circumstances are related which forcibly remind us of the great slaughter round the corpses of Sarpedon and Patroclus.
But there is one circumstance which deserves especial notice. Both the war of Troy and the war of Regillus were caused by the licentious passions of young princes, who were therefore peculiarly bound not to be sparing of their own persons in the day of battle. Now the conduct of Sextus at Regillus, as described by Livy, so exactly resembles that of Paris, as described at the beginning of the third book of the Iliad, that it is difficult to believe the resemblance accidental. Paris appears before the Trojan ranks, defying the bravest Greek to encounter him:
TpacXv pk rrnoinixi^Cf 'AAlfaydpof "focio^f,
'Ap> n'tjv vpo*a\l$trQ Ttavrai apia rovr,
ivrl&iov na\i<jaai)ai It/ aiyg iriX'orrjri.
Livy introduces Sextus in a similar manner: "Ferocem juvenem Tarquinium, ostcnlantem se in primS exsulum acie." Menelaus rushes to meet Paris. A Roman noble, eager for vengeance, spurs his horse towards Sextus. Both the guilty princes are instantly terrorstricken:
Tdv d* «t ovv IvSqotv '\\l\av$pot BlotlSht,
"Tarquinius," says Livy, "retro in agmen suorum infenso cessit hosti." If this be a fortuitous coincidence, it is one of the most extraordinary in literature.
In the following poem, therefore, images and incidents have been borrowed, not merely without scruple, but on principle, from the in comparable battle-pieces of Homer.
The popular belief at Rome, from an early period, seems to have been that the event of the great day of Regillus was decided by supernatural agency. Castor and Pollux, it was said, had fought, armed and mounted, at the head of the legions of the commonwealth, and had afterwards carried the news of the victory with incredible speed to the city. The well in the Forum at which they had alighted was pointre! out. Near the well rose their ancient temple. A great festival was kept to their honour on the Ides of Qumtilis, supposed to be the anniversary of the battle; and on that day sumptuous sacrifices were offered to them at the public charge. One spot on the margin of Lake Regillus was regarded during many ages with superstitious awe. A mark, resembling in shape a horse's hoof, was discernible in the volcanic rock; and this mark was believed 10 have been made by one of the celestial chargers.
How the legend originated, cannot now be ascertained: but we may easily imagine several ways in which it might have originated: nor is it at all necessary to suppose, with Julius Frontinus, that two young men were dressed up by the Dictator to personate the sons of Leda. It is probable that Livy is correct when he says that the Roman general, in the hour of peril, vowed a temple to Castor. If so, nothing could be more natural than that the multitude should ascribe the victory to the favour of the Twin Gods. When such was the prevailing sentiment, any man who chose to declare that, in the midst of the confusion and slaughter, he had seen two godlike forms on white horses scattering the Latines, would find ready credence. We know, indeed, that, in modern times, a very similar story actually found credence among a people much more civilized than the Romans of the fifth century before Christ. A chaplain of Cortes, writing about thirty years after the conquest of Mexico, in an age of printing-presses, libraries, universities, scholars, logicians, jurists, and statesmen, had the face to assert that, in one engagement against the Indians, St. James had appeared on a gray horse at the head of the Castilian adventurers. Many of these adventurers were aving when this lie was printed. One of them, honest Bernal Diaz, wrote an account of the expedition. He had the evidence of his own senses against the chaplain's legend; but he seems to have distrusted even the evidence of his own senses. He says that he was in the battle, and that he saw a gray horse with a man on his back, but that the man was, to his thinking, Francesco de Morla, and not the everblessed apostle St. James. *' Nevertheless," he adds, " it may be that the person on the gray horse was the glorious apostle St James, and
the celestial horsemen bear the tidings of vie tory to Rome.
Many years after the temple of the Twin Gods had been built in the Forum, an important addition was made to the ceremonial by which the state annually testified its gratitude for their protection. Quintus Fabius and Publius Decius were elected Censors at a momentous crisis. It had become absolutely necessary that the classification of the citizens should be revised. On that classification depended the distribution of political power. Party spirit ran high; and the republic seemed to be in danger of falling under the dominion either of a narrow oligarchy or of an ignorant and headstrong rabble. Under such circumstances, the most illustrious patrician and the most illustrious plebeian of the age were intrusted with the office of arbitrating between the angry factions; and they performed their arduous task to the satisfaction of all honest and reasonable men.
One of their reforms was a remodelling of the equestrian order; and,having effected this reform, they determined to give to their work a sanction derived from religion. In the chivalrous societies of modern times, societies which have much more than may at first sight appear in common with the equestrian order of Rome, it has been usual to invoke the special protection of some Saint, and to observe his day with peculiar solemnity. Thus the Companions of the Garter wear the image of St. George depending from their collars, and meet, on great occasions, in St. George's Chapel. Thus, when Louis the Fourteenth instituted a new order of chivalry for the rewarding of military merit, he commended it to the favour of his own glorified ancestor and patron, and decreed that all the members of the fraternity should meet at the royal palace on the Feast of St. Louis, should attend the king to chapel, should hear mass, and should subsequently hold their great annual assembly. There is a considerable resemblance between this rule of the Order of St. Louis and the rule which Fabius and Decius made respecting the Roman knights. It was ordained that a grand muster and inspection of the equestrian body should be part of the ceremonial performed, on the anniversary of the battle of Regillus, in honour of Castor and Pollux, the two equestrian Gods. All the knights, clad in purple and crowned with olive, were to meet at a temple of Mars in the suburbs. Thence they were to ride in state to the Forum, where the temple of the Twins stood. This pageant was, during several centuries, considered as one of the most splendid sights of Rome. In the time of Dionysius the cavalcade sometimes consisted of five thousand horsemen, all persons of fair repute and
that I, sinner that I am, was unworthy to see easy fortune.*
him.'' The Romans of the age of Cincinnatus There can be no doubt that the Censors who were probably quite as credulous as the Spa- instituted this magnificent ceremony atted in nish subjects of Charles the Fifth. It is there- concert with the Pontiffs to whom, by the confore conceivable that the appearance of Castor stitution of Rome, the superintendence of the and Pollux may have become an article of .ait'.i before the generation which had fought at Regillus had passed away. Nor could any 'hing he more natural than that the poets of the next age should embellish this story, and make
But, Roman, when thou standest
Upon that holy ground, Look thou with heed on the dark rock
That girds the dark lake round. 80 shall thou see a hoof-mark
Stamped deep into the flint: It was no hoof of mortal steed
That made so strange a dint: There to the Great Twin Brethren
Vow thou thy vows, and pray That they, in tempest and in fight,
Will keep thy head alway.
Since last the Great Twin Brethren
Of mortal eyes were seen, Have years gone by a hundred
And fourscore and thirteen. That summer a Virginius
Was Consul first in place; The second was stout Aulus,
Of the Posthumian race. •
The Herald of the Latines
From Gabii came in state: The Herald of the Latines
Passed through Rome's Eastern Ga.e: The Herald of the Latines
Did in our Forum stand; And there he did his office,
A sceptre in his hand.
6. "Hear, Senators and people
Of the good town of Rome: The Thirty Cities charge you
To bring the Tarquins home: And if ye still be stubborn,
To work the Tarquins wrong, The Thirty Cities warn you,
Look that your walls be strong."
Then spake the Consul Aulus,
He spake a bitter jest; "Once the jays sent a message
Unto the eagle's nest:— Now yield thou up thine eyrie
Unto the carrion-kite, Of come forth valiantly, and face
The jays in deadly fight.—
Forth looked in wrath the eagle;
Aud carrion-kite and jay, Soon as they saw his beak andclair,
Fled screaming far away."
8. The Herald of the Latines
Hath hied him back in state. The Fathers of the City
Are met in high debate. Then spake the elder Consul,
An ancient man and wise: "Now hearken, Conscript Fathers,
To that which I advise. In seasons of great peril
'Tis good that one bear sway; Then choose we a Dictator,
Whom all men shall obey. Camerium knows how deeply
The sword of Aulus biles; And all our city calls him
The man of seventy fights. Then let him be Dictator
For six months and no more. And have a Master of the Knights,
And axes twenty-four."
80 Aulus was Dictator,
The man of seventy fights; He made iEbutius Elva
His Master of the Knights. On the third morn thereafter,
At dawning of the day, Did Aulus and jEbutius
Set forth with their array. Sempronius Atratinus
Was left in charge at home With boys and with gray-headed men,
To keep the walls of Rome. Hard by the Lake Regillus
Our camp was pitched at night; Eastward a mile the Latines lay,
Under the forciati height. Far over hill and valley
Their mighty host was spread; And with their thousand watchfires
The midnight sky was red.
10. Up rose the golden morning
Over the Porcian height, The proud ides of Quin litis
Marked evermore with white. Not without secret trouble
Our bravest saw the foes, For, gin by threescore thousand spears,
The thirty standards rose. From every warlike city
That boasts the Latian name, Foredoomed to dogs and vultures,
That gallant army came;
From Norba's ancient wall,
The proudest town of all;
O'erhangs the dark-blue seas,
Beneath Aricia's trees—