More Horatius by Thomas Babbington Macaulay. Parts XXI-XXVII
XXI And nearer fast and nearer Doth the red whirlwind come; And louder still and still more loud, From underneath that rolling cloud, Is heard the trumpet's war-note proud, The trampling, and the hum. And plainly and more plainly Now through the gloom appears, Far to left and far to right, In broken gleams of dark-blue light, The long array of helmets bright, The long array of spears. XXII And plainly and more plainly, Above that glimmering line, Now might ye see the banners Of twelve fair cities shine; But the banner of proud Clusium Was highest of them all, The terror of the Umbrian, The terror of the Gaul. XXIII And plainly and more plainly Now might the burghers know, By port and vest, by horse and crest, Each warlike Lucumo. There Cilnius of Arretium On his fleet roan was seen; And Astur of the four-fold shield, Girt with the brand none else may wield, Tolumnius with the belt of gold, And dark Verbenna from the hold By reedy Thrasymene. XXIV Fast by the royal standard, O'erlooking all the war, Lars Porsena of Clusium Sat in his ivory car. By the right wheel rode Mamilius, Prince of the Latian name; And by the left false Sextus, That wrought the deed of shame. XXV But when the face of Sextus Was seen among the foes, A yell that rent the firmament From all the town arose. On the house-tops was no woman But spat towards him and hissed, No child but screamed out curses, And shook its little fist. XXVI But the Consul's brow was sad, And the Consul's speech was low, And darkly looked he at the wall, And darkly at the foe. 'Their van will be upon us Before the bridge goes down; And if they once may win the bridge, What hope to save the town?' XXVII Then out spake brave Horatius, The Captain of the Gate: 'To every man upon this earth Death cometh soon or late. And how can man die better Than facing fearful odds, For the ashes of his fathers, And the temples of his gods.