Lays of Ancient Rome/The Battle of the Lake Regillus

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Lays of Ancient Rome by Thomas Babington Macaulay
The Battle of the Lake Regillus
The Battle of Lake Regillus was a legendary early Roman victory, won over either the Etruscans or the Latin League. It has been dated at various years, including 509 BC, 496 BC and 493 BC. The battle may be entirely legendary, due to the scarcity of records from this early date in Roman history.
Excerpted from The Battle of the Lake Regillus on Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
Castor and Pollux fighting at the Battle of Lake Regillus, 1880 illustration by JR Weguelin for the Lays of Ancient Rome.


The Battle of the Lake Regillus


A Lay Sung at the Feast of Castor and Pollux on the Ides of
Quintilis in the year of the City CCCCLI.

               I

     Ho, trumpets, sound a war-note!
          Ho, lictors, clear the way!
     The Knights will ride, in all their pride,
          Along the streets to-day.
     To-day the doors and windows
          Are hung with garlands all,
     From Castor in the Forum,
          To Mars without the wall.
     Each Knight is robed in purple,
          With olive each is crowned;
     A gallant war-horse under each
          Paws haughtily the ground.
     While flows the Yellow River,
          While stands the Sacred Hill,
     The proud Ides of Quintilis
          Shall have such honor still.
     Gay are the Martian Kalends,
          December's Nones are gay,
     But the proud Ides, when the squadron rides,
          Shall be Rome's whitest day.

               II

     Unto the Great Twin Brethren
          We keep this solemn feast.
     Swift, swift, the Great Twin Brethren
          Came spurring from the east.
     They came o'er wild Parthenius
          Tossing in waves of pine,
     O'er Cirrha's dome, o'er Adria's foam,
          O'er purple Apennine,
     From where with flutes and dances
          Their ancient mansion rings,
     In lordly Lacedæmon,
          The City of two kings,
     To where, by Lake Regillus,
          Under the Porcian height,
     All in the lands of Tusculum,
          Was fought the glorious fight.

               III

     Now on the place of slaughter
          Are cots and sheepfolds seen,
     And rows of vines, and fields of wheat,
          And apple-orchards green;
     The swine crush the big acorns
          That fall from Corne's oaks.
     Upon the turf by the Fair Fount
          The reaper's pottage smokes.
     The fisher baits his angle;
          The hunter twangs his bow;
     Little they think on those strong limbs
          That moulder deep below.
     Little they think how sternly
          That day the trumpets pealed;
     How in the slippery swamp of blood
          Warrior and war-horse reeled;
     How wolves came with fierce gallops,
          And crows on eager wings,
     To tear the flesh of captains,
          And peck the eyes of kings;
     How thick the dead lay scattered
          Under the Porcian height;
     How through the gates of Tusculum
          Raved the wild stream of flight;
     And how the Lake Regillus
          Bubbled with crimson foam,
     What time the Thirty Cities
          Came forth to war with Rome.

               IV

     But Roman, when thou standest
          Upon that holy ground,
     Look thou with heed on the dark rock
          That girds the dark lake round.
     So shalt thou see a hoof-mark
          Stamped deep into the flint:
     It was not 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 flight,
          Will keep thy head alway.

               V

     Since last the Great Twin Brethren
          Of mortal eyes were seen,
     Have years gone by an 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 Gate:
     The Herald of the Latines
          Did in our Forum stand;
     And there he did his office,
          A sceptre in his hand.

               VI

     "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 your walls be strong."

               VII

     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,
     Or come forth valiantly, and face
          The jays in deadly fight.—
     Forth looked in wrath the eagle;
          And carrion-kite and jay,
     Soon as they saw his beak and claw,
          Fled screaming far away."

               VIII

     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 harken, 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 bites,
     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."

               IX

     So Aulus was Dictator,
          The man of seventy fights;
     He made Æbutius Elva
          His Master of the Knights.
     On the third morn thereafter,
          At downing of the day,
     Did Aulus and Æbutius
          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 Porcian height.
     Far over hill and valley
          Their mighty host was spread;
     And with their thousand watch-fires
          The midnight sky was red.

               X

     Up rose the golden morning
          Over the Porcian height,
     The proud Ides of Quintilis
          Marked evermore in white.
     Not without secret trouble
          Our bravest saw the foe;
     For girt by threescore thousand spears,
          The thirty standards rose.
     From every warlike city
          That boasts the Latian name,
     Fordoomed to dogs and vultures,
          That gallant army came;
     From Setia's purple vineyards,
          From Norba's ancient wall,
     From the white streets of Tusculum,
          The proudust town of all;
     From where the Witch's Fortress
          O'er hangs the dark-blue seas;
     From the still glassy lake that sleeps
          Beneath Aricia's trees—
     Those trees in whose dim shadow
          The ghastly priest doth reign,
     The priest who slew the slayer,
          And shall himself be slain;
     From the drear banks of Ufens,
          Where flights of marsh-fowl play,
     And buffaloes lie wallowing
          Through the hot summer's day;
     From the gigantic watch-towers,
          No work of earthly men,
     Whence Cora's sentinels o'erlook
          The never-ending fen;
     From the Laurentian jungle,
          The wild hog's reedy home;
     From the green steeps whence Anio leaps
          In floods of snow-white foam.

               XI

     Aricia, Cora, Norba,
          Velitræ, with the might
     Of Setia and of Tusculum,
          Were marshalled on the right:
     The leader was Mamilius,
          Prince of the Latian name;
     Upon his head a helmet
          Of red gold shone like flame:
     High on a gallant charger
          Of dark-gray hue he rode;
     Over his gilded armor
          A vest of purple flowed,
     Woven in the land of sunrise
          By Syria's dark-browed daughters,
     And by the sails of Carthage brought
          Far o'er the southern waters.

               XII

     Lavinium and Laurentum
          Had on the left their post,
     With all the banners of the marsh,
          And banners of the coast.
     Their leader was false Sextus,
          That wrought the deed of shame:
     With restless pace and haggard face
          To his last field he came.
     Men said he saw strange visions
          Which none beside might see;
     And that strange sounds were in his ears
          Which none might hear but he.
     A woman fair and stately,
          But pale as are the dead,
     Oft through the watches of the night
          Sat spinning by his bed.
     And as she plied the distaff,
          In a sweet voice and low,
     She sang of great old houses,
          And fights fought long ago.
     So spun she, and so sang she,
          Until the east was gray.
     Then pointed to her bleeding breast,
          And shrieked, and fled away.

               XIII

     But in the centre thickest
          Were ranged the shields of foes,
     And from the centre loudest
          The cry of battle rose.
     There Tibur marched and Pedum
          Beneath proud Tarquin's rule,
     And Ferentinum of the rock,
          And Gabii of the pool.
     There rode the Volscian succors:
          There, in the dark stern ring,
     The Roman exiles gathered close
          Around the ancient king.
     Though white as Mount Soracte,
          When winter nights are long,
     His beard flowed down o'er mail and belt,
          His heart and hand were strong:
     Under his hoary eyebrows
          Still flashed forth quenchless rage:
     And, if the lance shook in his gripe,
          'Twas more with hate than age.
     Close at his side was Titus
          On an Apulian steed,
     Titus, the youngest Tarquin,
          Too good for such a breed.

               XIV

     Now on each side the leaders
          Gave signal for the charge;
     And on each side the footmen
          Strode on with lance and targe;
     And on each side the horsemen
          Struck their spurs deep in gore,
     And front to front the armies
          Met with a mighty roar:
     And under that great battle
          The earth with blood was red;
     And, like the Pomptine fog at morn,
          The dust hung overhead;
     And louder still and louder
          Rose from the darkened field
     The braying of the war-horns,
          The clang of sword and shield,
     The rush of squadrons sweeping
          Like whirlwinds o'er the plain,
     The shouting of the slayers,
          And screeching of the slain.

               XV

     False Sextus rode out foremost,
          His look was high and bold;
     His corslet was of bison's hide,
          Plated with steel and gold.
     As glares the famished eagle
          From the Digentian rock
     On a choice lamb that bounds alone
          Before Bandusia's flock,
     Herminius glared on Sextus,
          And came with eagle speed,
     Herminius on black Auster,
          Brave champion on brave steed;
     In his right hand the broadsword
          That kept the bridge so well,
     And on his helm the crown he won
          When proud Fidenæ fell.
     Woe to the maid whose lover
          Shall cross his path to-day!
     False Sextus saw, and trembled,
          And turned, and fled away.
     As turns, as flies, the woodman
          In the Calabrian brake,
     When through the reeds gleams the round eye
          Of that fell speckled snake;
     So turned, so fled, false Sextus,
          And hid him in the rear,
     Behind the dark Lavinian ranks,
          Bristling with crest and spear.

               XVI

     But far to the north Æbutius,
          The Master of the Knights,
     Gave Tubero of Norba
          To feed the Porcian kites.
     Next under those red horse-hoofs
          Flaccus of Setia lay;
     Better had he been pruning
          Among his elms that day.
     Mamilus saw the slaughter,
          And tossed his golden crest,
     And towards the Master of the Knights
          Through the thick battle pressed.
     Æbutius smote Mamilius
          So fiercely on the shield
     That the great lord of Tusculum
          Well-nigh rolled on the field.
     Mamilius smote Æbutius,
          With a good aim and true,
     Just where the next and shoulder join,
          And pierced him through and through;
     And brave Æbutius Elva
          Fell swooning to the ground:
     But a thick wall of bucklers
          Encompassed him around.
     His clients from the battle
          Bare him some little space,
     And filled a helm from the dark lake,
          And bathed his brow and face;
     And when at last he opened
          His swimming eyes to light,
     Men say, the earliest words he spake
          Was, "Friends, how goes the fight?".

               XVII

     But meanwhile in the centre
          Great deeds of arms were wrought;
     There Aulus the Dictator
          And there Valerius fought.
     Aulus with his good broadsword
          A bloody passage cleared
     To where, amidst the thickest foes,
          He saw the long white beard.
     Flat lighted that good broadsword
          Upon proud Tarquin's head.
     He dropped the lance: he dropped the reins:
          He fell as fall the dead.
     Down Aulus springs to slay him,
          With eyes like coals of fire;
     But faster Titus hath sprung down,
          And hath bestrode his sire.
     Latian captains, Roman knights,
          Fast down to earth they spring,
     And hand to hand they fight on foot
          Around the ancient king.
     First Titus gave tall Cæso
          A death wound in the face;
     Tall Cæso was the bravest man
          Of the brave Fabian race:
     Aulus slew Rex of Gabii,
          The priest of Juno's shrine;
     Valerius smote down Julius,
          Of Rome's great Julian line;
     Julius, who left his mansion,
          High on the Velian hill,
     And through all turns of weal and woe
          Followed proud Tarquin still.
     Now right across proud Tarquin
          A corpse was Julius laid;
     And Titus groaned with rage and grief,
          And at Valerius made.
     Valerius struck at Titus,
          And lopped off half his crest;
     But Titus stabbed Valerius
          A span deep in the breast.
     Like a mast snapped by the tempest,
          Valerius reeled and fell.
     Ah! woe is me for the good house
          That loves the people well!
     Then shouted loud the Latines;
          And with one rush they bore
     The struggling Romans backward
          Three lances' length and more:
     And up they took proud Tarquin,
          And laid him on a shield,
     And four strong yeomen bare him,
          Still senseless, from the field.

               XVIII

     But fiercer grew the fighting
          Around Valerius dead;
     For Titus dragged him by the foot
          And Aulus by the head.
     "On, Latines, on!" quoth Titus,
          "See how the rebels fly!"
     "Romans, stand firm!" quoth Aulus,
          "And win this fight or die!
     They must not give Valerius
          To raven and to kite;
     For aye Valerius loathed the wrong,
          And aye upheld the right:
     And for your wives and babies
          In the front rank he fell.
     Now play the men for the good house
          That loves the people well!"

               XIX

     Then tenfold round the body
          The roar of battle rose,
     Like the roar of a burning forest,
          When a strong north wind blows,
     Now backward, and now forward,
          Rocked furiously the fray,
     Till none could see Valerius,
          And none wist where he lay.
     For shivered arms and ensigns
          Were heaped there in a mound,
     And corpses stiff, and dying men
          That writhed and gnawed the ground;
     And wounded horses kicking,
          And snorting purple foam:
     Right well did such a couch befit
          A Consular of Rome.

               XX

     But north looked the Dictator;
          North looked he long and hard,
     And spake to Caius Cossus,
          The Captain of his Guard;
     "Caius, of all the Romans
          Thou hast the keenest sight,
     Say, what through yonder storm of dust
          Comes from the Latian right;"

               XXI

     Then answered Caius Cossus:
          "I see an evil sight;
     The banner of proud Tusculum
          Comes from the Latian right;
     I see the pluméd horsemen;
          And far before the rest
     I see the dark-gray charger,
          I see the purple vest;
     I see the golden helmet
          That shines far off like flame;
     So ever rides Mamilius,
          Prince of the Latian name."

               XXII

     "Now hearken, Caius Cossus:
          Spring on thy horse's back;
     Ride as the wolves of Apennine
          Were all upon thy track;
     Haste to our southward battle:
          And never draw thy rein
     Until thou find Herminius,
          And bid hime come amain."

               XXIII

     So Aulus spake, and turned him
          Again to that fierce strife;
     And Caius Cossus mounted,
          And rode for death and life.
     Loud clanged beneath his horse-hoofs
          The helmets of the dead,
     And many a curdling pool of blood
          Splashed him heel to head.
     So came he far to southward,
          Where fought the Roman host,
     Against the banners of the marsh
          And banners of the coast.
     Like corn before the sickle
          The stout Laninians fell,
     Beneath the edge of the true sword
          That kept the bridge so well.

               XXIV

     "Herminius! Aulus greets thee;
          He bids thee come with speed,
     To help our central battle,
          For sore is there our need;
     There wars the youngest Tarquin,
          And there the Crest of Flame,
     The Tusculan Mamilius,
          Prince of the Latian name.
     Valerius hath fallen fighting
          In front of our array;
     And Aulus of the seventy fields
          Alone upholds the day."

               XXV

     Herminius beat his bosom:
          But never a word he spake.
     He clapped his hand on Auster's mane,
          He gave the reins a shake.
     Away, away, went Auster,
          Like an arrow from the bow:
     Black Auster was the fleetest steed
          From Aufidus to Po.

               XXVI

     Right glad were all the Romans
          Who, in that hour of dread,
     Against great odds bare up the war
          Around Valerius dead,
     When from the south the cheering
          Rose with a mighty swell;
     "Herminius comes, Herminius,
          Who kept the bridge so well!"

               XXVII

     Mamilius spied Herminius,
          And dashed across the way.
     "Herminius! I have sought thee
          Through many a bloody day.
     One of us two, Herminius,
          Shall never more go home.
     I will lay on for Tusculum,
          And lay thou on for Rome!"

               XXVIII

     All round them paused the battle,
          While met in mortal fray
     The Roman and the Tusculan,
          The horses black and gray.
     Herminius smote Mamilius
          Through breast-plate and through breast,
     And fast flowed out the purple blood
          Over the purple vest.
     Mamilius smote Herminius
          Through head-piece and through head,
     And side by side those chiefs of pride,
          Together fell down dead.
     Down fell they dead together
          In a great lake of gore;
     And still stood all who saw them fall
          While men might count a score.

               XXIX

     Fast, fast, with heels wild spurning,
          The dark-gray charger fled:
     He burst through ranks of fighting men,
          He sprang o'er heaps of dead.
     His bridle far out-streaming,
          His flanks all blood and foam,
     He sought the southern mountains,
          The mountains of his home.
     The pass was steep and rugged,
          The wolves they howled and whined;
     But he ran like a whirlwind up the pass,
          And he left the wolves behind.
     Through many a startled hamlet
          Thundered his flying feet;
     He rushed through the gate of Tusculum,
          He rushed up the long white street;
     He rushed by tower and temple,
          And paused not from his race
     Till he stood before his master's door
          In the stately market-place.
     And straightway round him gathered
          A pale and trembling crowd,
     And when they knew him, cries of rage
          Brake forth, and wailing loud:
     And women rent their tresses
          For their great prince's fall;
     And old men girt on their old swords,
          And went to man the wall.

               XXX

     But, like a graven image,
          Black Auster kept his place,
     And ever wistfully he looked
          Into his master's face.
     The raven-mane that daily,
          With pats and fond caresses,
     The young Herminia washed and combed,
          And twined in even tresses,
     And decked with colored ribbons
          From her own gay attire,
     Hung sadly o'er her father's corpse
          In carnage and in mire.
     Forth with a shout sprang Titus,
          And seized black Auster's rein.
     Then Aulus sware a fearful oath,
          And ran at him amain.
     "The furies of thy brother
          With me and mine abide,
     If one of your accursed house
          Upon black Auster ride!"
     As on a Alpine watch-tower
          From heaven comes down the flame,
     Full on the neck of Titus
          The blade of Aulus came:
     And out the red blood spouted,
          In a wide arch and tall,
     As spouts a fountain in the court
          Of some rich Capuan's hall.
     The knees of all the Latines
          Were loosened with dismay,
     When dead, on dead Herminius,
          The bravest Tarquin lay.

               XXXI

     And Aulus the Dictator
          Stroked Auster's raven mane,
     With heed he looked unto the girths,
          With heed unto the rein.
     "Now bear me well, black Auster,
          Into yon thick array;
     And thou and I will have revenge
          For thy good lord this day."

               XXXII

     So spake he; and was buckling
          Tighter black Auster's band,
     When he was aware of a princely pair
          That rode at his right hand.
     So like they were, no mortal
          Might one from other know:
     White as snow their armor was:
          Their steeds were white as snow.
     Never on earthly anvil
          Did such rare armor gleam;
     And never did such gallant steeds
          Drink of an earthly stream.

               XXXIII

     And all who saw them trembled,
          And pale grew every cheek;
     And Aulus the Dictator
          Scarce gathered voice to speak.
     "Say by what name men call you?
          What city is your home?
     And wherefore ride ye in such guise
          Before the ranks of Rome?"

               XXXIV

     "By many names men call us;
          In many lands we dwell:
     Well Samothracia knows us;
          Cyrene knows us well.
     Our house in gay Tarentum
          Is hung each morn with flowers:
     High o'er the masts of Syracuse
          Our marble portal towers;
     But by the proud Eurotas
          Is our dear native home;
     And for the right we come to fight
          Before the ranks of Rome."

               XXXV

     So answered those strange horsemen,
          And each couched low his spear;
     And forthwith all the ranks of Rome
          Were bold, and of good cheer:
     And on the thirty armies
          Came wonder and affright,
     And Ardea wavered on the left,
          And Cora on the right.
     "Rome to the charge!" cried Aulus;
          "The foe begins to yield!
     Charge for the hearth of Vesta!
          Charge for the Golden Shield!
     Let no man stop to plunder,
          But slay, and slay, and slay;
     The gods who live forever
          Are on our side to-day."

               XXXVI

     Then the fierce trumpet-flourish
          From earth to heaven arose,
     The kites know well the long stern swell
          That bids the Romans close.
     Then the good sword of Aulus
          Was lifted up to slay;
     Then, like a crag down Apennine,
          Rushed Auster through the fray.
     But under those strange horsemen
          Still thicker lay the slain;
     And after those strange horses
          Black Auster toiled in vain.
     Behind them Rome's long battle
          Came rolling on the foe,
     Ensigns dancing wild above,
          Blades all in line below.
     So comes the Po in flood-time
          Upon the Celtic plain;
     So comes the squall, blacker than night,
          Upon the Adrian main.
     Now, by our Sire Quirinus,
          It was a goodly sight
     To see the thirty standards
          Swept down the tide of flight.
     So flies the spray of Adria
          When the black squall doth blow
     So corn-sheaves in the flood-time
          Spin down the whirling Po.
     False Sextus to the mountains
          Turned first his horse's head;
     And fast fled Ferentinum,
          And fast Lanuvium fled.
     The horsemen of Nomentus
          Spurred hard out of the fray;
     The footmen of Velitræ
          Threw shield and spear away.
     And underfoot was trampled,
          Amidst the mud and gore,
     The banner of proud Tusculum,
          That never stooped before:
     And down went Flavius Faustus,
          Who led his stately ranks
     From where the apple blossoms wave
          On Anio's echoing banks,
     And Tullus of Arpinum,
          Chief of the Volscian aids,
     And Metius with the long fair curls,
          The love of Anxur's maids,
     And the white head of Vulso,
          The great Arician seer,
     And Nepos of Laurentum
          The hunter of the deer;
     And in the back false Sextus
          Felt the good Roman steel,
     And wriggling in the dust he died,
          Like a worm beneath the wheel:
     And fliers and pursuers
          Were mingled in a mass;
     And far away the battle
          Went roaring through the pass.

               XXXVII

     Semponius Atratinus
          Sat 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 renowned;
     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 quivered,
          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.
     So like they were, man never
          Saw twins so like before;
     Red with gore their armor was,
          Their steeds were red with gore.

               XXXVIII

     "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.
     Tomorrow your Dictator
          Shall bring in triumph home
     The spoils of thirty cities
          To deck the shrines of Rome!"

               XXXIX

     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 washed 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 passed,
          And no man saw them more.

               XL

     And all the people trembled,
          And pale grew every cheek;
     And Sergius the High Pontiff
          Alone found voice to speak:
     "The gods who live forever
          Have fought for Rome to-day!
     These be the Great Twin Brethren
          To whom the Dorians pray.
     Back comes the chief in triumph,
          Who, in the hour of fight,
     Hath seen the Great Twin Brethren
          In harness on his right.
     Safe comes the ship to haven,
          Through billows and through gales,
     If once the Great Twin Brethren
          Sit shining on the sails.
     Wherefore they washed their horses
          In Vesta's holy well,
     Wherefore they rode to Vesta's door,
          I know, but may not tell.
     Here, hard by Vesta's temple,
          Build we a stately dome
     Unto the Great Twin Brethren
          Who fought so well for Rome.
     And when the months returning
          Bring back this day of fight,
     The proud Ides of Quintilis,
          Marked evermore with white,
     Unto the Great Twin Brethren
          Let all the people throng,
     With chaplets and with offerings,
          With music and with song;
     And let the doors and windows
          Be hung with garlands all,
     And let the knights be summoned
          To Mars without the wall:
     Thence let them ride in purple
          With joyous trumpet-sound,
     Each mounted on his war-horse,
          And each with olive crowned;
     And pass in solemn order
          Before the sacred dome,
     Where dwell the Great Twin Brethren
          Who fought so well for Rome."

This work was published before January 1, 1923, and is in the public domain worldwide because the author died at least 100 years ago.