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Lays of Ancient Rome

by Macaulay Thomas Babington Macaulay Baron

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Something of a mixture, Macaulay's effort at a version of folk poetry based on early Roman history is hardly wonderful poetry but is delightful and from some point incriminating. These efforts fall exactly in the mainstream of rather idealized efforts to resume an authentic "folk" voice. At the same time, Macaulay approaches this work with a relatively sophisticated knowledge of Roman history and Medieval literature. But why Rome and not, for example, Macaulay's England? Beyond the heavy emphasis on Classical literature in Macaulay's Britain, there is also the British conception of itself as a new Rome. Some parts of these poems betray concerns also about social and class stratification of Victorian Britain.

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ISBN: 1146434790
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...north The messengers ride fast, And tower and town and cottage Have heard the trumpet's blast. Shame on the false Etruscan Who lingers in his home, When Porsena of Clusium Is on the march for Rome. III The horsemen and the footmen Are pouring in amain From many a stately market-place, From many a fruitful plain, From many a lonely hamlet, Which, hid by beech and pine, Like an eagle's nest, hangs on the crest Of purple Apennine; IV From lordly Volaterræ, Where scowls the far-famed hold Piled by the hands of giants For godlike kings of old; From seagirt Populonia, Whose sentinels descry Sardinia's snowy mountain-tops Fringing the southern sky; V From the proud mart of Pisæ, Queen of the western waves, Where ride Massilia's triremes Heavy with fair-haired slaves; From where sweet Clanis wanders Through corn and vines and flowers; From where Cortona lifts to heaven Her diadem of towers. VI Tall are the oaks whose acorns Drop in dark Auser's rill; Fat are the stags that champ the boughs...

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