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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,
And Manlius, eldest of the Twelve
Who keep the Golden shield
And Sergius, the high Pontiff,
For wisdom far renown'd;
In all Etruria's colleges
Was no such Pontiff found;
And all around the portal,
And high above the wall,
Stood a great throng of people,
But sad and silent all;
Young lads and stooping elders
That might not bear the mail ;
Matrons with lips that quiver'd
And maids with faces pale.
Since the first gleam of daylight,
Sempronius had not ceased
To listen for the rushing
Of horse-hoofs from the east. The mist of eve was rising,
The sun was hastening down, When he was aware of a princely pair
Fast pricking towards the town.
THE BATTLE OF THE LAKE REGILLUS.
So like they were, men never
Saw twins so like before;
Red with gore their armour was,
Their steeds were red with gore.
"Hail to the great asylum!
Hail to the hill-tops seven!
Hail to the fire that burns for aye,
And the shield that fell from heaven!
This day by Lake Regillus
Under the Porcian height,
All in the lands of Tusculum,
Was fought a glorious fight.
To-morrow your Dictator
Shall bring in triumph home
The spoils of thirty cities,
To deck the shrines of Rome!"
Then burst from that great concourse
A shout that shook the towers,
And some ran north, and some ran south,
Crying, "The day is ours!"
But on rode these strange horsemen,
With slow and lordly pace;
And none who saw their bearing
Durst ask their name or race.
On rode they to the Forum,
While laurel-boughs and flowers,
From house-tops and from windows,
Fell on their crests in showers;
When they drew nigh to Vesta,
They vaulted down amain,
And wash'd their horses in the well
That springs by Vesta's fane.
And straight again they mounted,
And rode to Vesta's door;
Then, like a blast, away they pass'd,
And no man saw them more.
You do look, my son, in a movèd sort,
As if you were dismay'd. Be cheerful, sir:
Our revels now are ended: these our actors,
As I foretold you, were all spirits, and
Are melted into air, into thin air :
And, like the baseless fabric of this vision,
The cloud-capp'd towers, the gorgeous palaces,
The solemn temples, the great globe itself,
Yea, all which it inherits, shall dissolve,
And, like this insubstantial pageant faded,
Leave not a wreck behind! We are such stuff
As dreams are made of, and our little life
Is rounded with a sleep.
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