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And when above the surges
They saw his crest appear,
Could scarce forbear to cheer.
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,
Safe to the landing-place :
By the brave heart within,
Bare bravely up his chin.
“ Curse on him !” quoth false Sextus ;
" Will not the villain drown ? But for this stay, ere close of day,
We should have sacked the town !” “ Heaven help him !" quoth Lars Porsena,
“And bring him safe to shore, For such a gallant feat of arms
Was never seen before."
And now he feels the bottom ;
Now on dry earth he stands;
And now, with shouts and clapping,
And noise of weeping loud,
Borne by the joyous crowd.
They gave him of the corn-land,
That was of public right, As much as two strong oxen
Could plough from morn till night ; And they made a molten image,
And set it up on high,
To witness if I lie.
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.
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 6
Roar louder yet within ;
5 The hall in the Forum, in which the people assembled to transact public business.
6 A mountain near Rome.
When the oldest cask is opened,
And the largest lamp is lit,
And the kid turns on the spit;
Around the firebrands close ;
And the lads are shaping bows ;
When the goodman mends his armour,
And trims his helmet's plume ;
Goes flashing through the loom ;
Still is the story told,
In the brave days of old.
Thou, whose spell can raise the dead,
Bid the prophet's form appear :
King, behold the phantom seer !"
Earth yawned ; he stood the centre of a cloud :
See 1 Sam. chap. xxviii.
From lips that moved not and unbreathing frame,
Why is my sleep disquieted ?
THE FATAL SISTERS.
TRANSLATED FROM THE NORSE TONGUE, BY GRAY.
Now the storm begins to lower,
(Haste, the loom of hell prepare,) Iron sleet of arrowy shower
Hurtles in the darkened air.
Glittering lances are the loom
Where the dusky warp we strain,
Orkney's woe, and Randver's bane.
See the grisly texture grow!
('Tis of human entrails made), And the weights, that play below,
Each a gasping warrior's head. Shafts for shuttles, dipt in gore,
Shoot the trembling chords along; Sword, that once a monarch bore,
Keep the tissue close and strong. Mista, black terrific maid,
Sangrida, and Hilda, see, Join the wayward work to aid :
'Tis the woof of victory. Ere the ruddy sun be set,
Pikes must shiver, javelins sing, Blade with clattering buckler meet,
Hauberk crash, and helmet ring.
(Weave the crimson web of war)
Let us go, and let us fly,
Where they triumph, where they die.
As the paths of fate we tread,
Wading through the ensanguined field, Gondula, and Geira, spread
O'er the youthful king your shield. We the reins to slaughter give,
Ours to kill and ours to spare : Spite of danger he shall live.
(Weave the crimson web of war.) They, whom once the desert-beach
Pent within its bleak domain, Soon their ample sway shall stretch
O'er the plenty of the plain.