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Meanwhile the Tuscan army,

Right glorious to behold,
Came flashing back the noonday light,
Rank behind rank, like surges bright

Of a broad sea of gold.
Four hundred trumpets sounded

A peal of warlike glee,
As that great host, with measured tread,
And spears advanced, and ensigns spread,
Rolled slowly towards the bridge's head,

Where stood the dauntless three.

The three stood calm and silent,

And looked upon the foes,
And a great shout of laughter

From all the vanguard rose :
And forth three chiefs came spurring

Before that mighty mass ;
To earth they sprang, their swords they drew,
And lifted high their shields, and flew

To win the narrow pass.

But now no sound of laughter

Was heard among the foes.
A wild and wrathful clamour

From all the vanguard rose.
Six spears' length from the entrance

Halted that mighty mass,
And for a space no man came forth

To win the narrow pass.

But hark! the cry is “ Astur:"

And lo! the ranks divide, And the great lord of Luna

Comes with his stately stride. Upon his ample shoulders

Clangs loud the fourfold shield, And in his hand he shakes the brand

Which none but he can wield.

Then, whirling up his broadsword

With both hands to the height, Hé rushed against Horatius,

And smote with all his might. With shield and blade Horatius

Right deftly turned the blow. The blow, though turned, came yet too nigh; It missed his helm, but gashed his thigh : The Tuscans raised a joyful cry

To see the red blood flow.

He reeled, and on Herminius

He leaned one breathing space;
Then, like a wild-cat mad with wounds,

Sprang right at Astur's face.
Through teeth and skull and helmet,

So fierce a thrust he sped,
The good sword stood a handbreadth out

Behind the Tuscan's head !

And the great lord of Luna

Fell at that deadly stroke, As falls on Mount Alvernus

A thunder-smitten oak.
Far o'er the crashing forest

The giant arms lie spread ;
And the pale augurs, muttering low,

Gaze on the blasted head.

But meanwhile axe and lever

Have manfully been plied ;
And now the bridge hangs tottering

Above the boiling tide.
“ Come back, come back, Horatius !"

Loud cried the Fathers all.
Back, Lartius ! back, Herminius!
Back, ere the ruin fall !”

Back darted Spurius Lartius;

Hermir.ius darted back :
And as they passed, beneath their feet

They felt the timbers crack.
But when they turned their faces,

And on the farther shore
Saw brave Horatius stand alone,

They would have crossed once more.

But with a crash like thunder

loosened beam,
And, like a dam, the mighty wreck

Lay right athwart the stream. Alone stood brave Horatius,

But constant still in mind ; Thrice thirty thousand foes before,

And the broad flood behind.

“Oh, Tiber ! father Tiber !

To whom the Romans pray,
A Roman's life, a Roman's arms,

Take thou in charge this day !
So he spake, and speaking sheathed

The good sword by his side,
And with his barness on his back,

Plunged headlong in the tide.

No sound of joy or sorrow

Was heard from either bank; But friends and foes, in dumb surprise, With parted lips and straining eyes,

Stood gazing where he sank: And when beneath the surges

They saw his crest appear, All Rome sent forth a rapturous cry, And even the ranks of Tuscany

Could scarce forbear to cheer.

But fiercely ran the current,

Swollen high by months of rain : And fast his blood was flowing ;

And he was sore in pain, And heavy with his armour,

And spent with changing blows: And oft they thought him sinking,

But still again he rose.

“Curse on him !” quoth false Sextus,

“ Will not the villain drown? But for this stay, ere close of day

We should have sacked the town !"“Heaven help him !” quoth Lars Porsena,

“And bring him safe to shore; For such a gallant feat of arms

Was never seen before.”

And now he feels the bottom;

Now on dry earth he stands;
Now round him throng the fathers,


And now with shouts and clapping,

And noise of weeping loud,
He enters through the river-gate,

Borne by the joyous crowd.

When the good-man mends his armour,

And trims his helmet's plume ; When the good-wife's shuttle merrily

Goes flashing through the loom;
With weeping and with laughter

Still is the story told,
How well Horatius kept the bridge
In the brave days of old.

By permission of Messrs Longman & Co.


(MRS HEMANS.) [The celebrated Spanish champion, Bernardo del Carpio, having made many ineffectual efforts to procure the release of his father, the Count Saldana, who had been imprisoned by King Alfonso of Asturias, almost from the time of Bernardo's birth, at last took up arms in despair. The war which he maintained proved so destructive, that the men of the land gathered round the king, and united in demanding Saldana's liberty. Alfonso accordingly offered Bernardo immediate possession of his father's person, in exchange for his castle at Carpio. Bernardo, without hesitation, gave up his stronghold, with all his captives, and being assured that his father was then on his way from prison, rode forth with the king to meet him. “And when he saw his father approaching, he exclaimed,” says the ancient chronicle, “Oh! God, is the Count Saldana indeed coming?" "Look where he is,” replied the cruel king, “and row go and greet him, whom you have so long desired to see.”—The remainder of the story will be found related in the ballad. The chronicles and romances leave us nearly in the dark as to Bernardo's future history after this event, with the exception of the final interview in which he renounced his allegiance to the king.)

The warrior bowed his crested head, and tamed his heart

of fire, And sued the haughty king to free his long-imprisoned


“I bring thee here my fortress-keys, I bring my captive

train, I pledge thee faith, my liege, my lord !-Oh! break my

father's chain !"

“Rise, rise ! even now thy father comes, a ransomed man

this day :

Mount thy good horse ; and thou and I will meet him on

his way.”

Then lightly rose that loyal son, and bounded on his steed, And urged, as if with lance in rest, the charger's foamy


And lo ! from far, as on they pressed, there came a

glittering band, With one that 'midst them stately rode, as a leader in the


“Now haste, Bernardo, haste ! for there, in very truth,

is he,

The father whom thy faithful heart hath yearned so long

to see.”


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