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There is no malice in this burning coal;
Hub. But with my breath I can revive it, boy.
Arth. And if you do, you will but make it blush, And glow with shame of your proceedings, Hubert; Nay, it, perchance, will sparkle in your eyes, And, like a dog that is compell’d to fight, Snatch at his master that doth tarre him on. All things that you should use to do me wrong, Deny their office; only you do lack That mercy which fierce fire and iron extends, Creatures of note for mercy-lacking uses.
Hub. Well, see to live : I will not touch thine eyes, For all the treasure that thine uncle owes : Yet am I sworn, and I did purpose, boy, With this same very iron to burn them out.
Arth. O, now you look like Hubert! all this while You were disguised.
Hub. Peace! no more. Adieu !
Hubert. Hub. Silence; no more. Go closely in with me, Much danger do I undergo for thee.
LARS PORSENA of Clusium
By the Nine Gods he swore That the great house of Tarquin
Should suffer wrong no more.
And named a trysting day,
To summon his array.
East and west and south and north
The messengers ride fast,
Have heard the trumpet's blast.
Who lingers in his home, When Porsena of Clusium
Is on the march for Rome.
The horsemen and the footmen
Are pouring in amain
From many a fruitful plain;
Which, hid by beech and pine, Like an eagle's nest, hangs on the crest
Of purple Apennine.
Tall are the oaks whose acorns
Drop in dark Auser's rill; Fat are the stags that champ the boughs
Of the Ciminian hill ;
Is to the herdsman dear;
The great Volsinian mere.
But now no stroke of woodman
Is heard by Auser's rill; No hunter tracks the stag's green path
Up the Ciminian hill; Unwatch'd along Clitumnus
Grazes the milk-white steer : Unharm'd the water-fowl may dip
In the Volsinian mere.
The harvests of Arretium,
old men shall reap ; This year, young boys in Umbro
Shall plunge the struggling sheep; And in the vats of Luna,
This year, the must shall foam Round the white feet of laughing girls,
Whose sires have march'd to Rome.
To eastward and to westward
Have spread the Tuscan bands; Nor house, nor fence, nor dovecote,
In Crustumerium stands. Verbenna down to Ostia
Hath wasted all the plain ; Astur hath storm'd Janiculum,
And the stout guards are slain.
I wis, in all the Senate,
There was no heart so bold,
When that ill news was told.
Uprose the Fathers all ;
And hied them to the wall.
They held a council standing,
Before the River-gate;
For musing or debate.
“The bridge must straight go down; For, since Janiculum is lost,
Nought else can save the town.”
Just then a scout came flying,
All wild with haste and fear:
Lars Porsena is here."
The Consul fixed his eye,
Rise fast along the sky,
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 spears.
[Here Horatius, Lartius, and Herminius undertake to keep back the enemy from passing the bridge till it can be hewn down.]
Meanwhile the Tuscan army,
Right glorious to behold,
Of a broad sea of gold.
A peel of warlike glee,
Where stood the dauntless Three.
The Three stood calm and silent,
And looked upon the foes,
From all the vanguard rose :
Before that mighty mass;
To win the narrow pass.
[Several of the Tuscan chiefs try to force the passage, but are slain by Horatius and his companions.]