Tu ne cede malis, sed contra audentior ito

Monday, 10 September 2012

Dulce et decorum est...

They held a council standing
   Before the River-Gate;
Short time was there, ye well may guess,
   For musing or debate.
Out spake the Consul roundly;
   'The bridge must straight go down;
For, since Janiculum is lost,
    Nought else can save the town.'

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.

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?'

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?

Hew down the bridge, Sir Consul,
   With all the speed ye may;
I, with two more to help me,
   Will hold the foe in play.
In yon strait path a thousand
    May well be stopped by three.
Now who will stand on either hand,
    And keep the bridge with me?'

Extract from 'Horatius' by Lord Macaulay

No comments:

Post a Comment