The Lays of Ancient Rome comprise four narrative poems comprised by Lord Thomas Babington Macaulay: recalling popular episodes from Roman historical-legends that were strongly moral in tone: exemplifying Roman virtue against Latine perfidy.
The four poems are:
— Horatius — Horatius and two companions seek to hold back a large invading Etruscan force at the far end of a bridge over the Tiber River. The trio are willing to lay down their lives so as to prevent the Etruscans crossing and sacking the otherwise ill-defended Rome: it is a desperate gamble to buy enough time for the Romans to destroy the bridge in advance of the hostile army. But will their efforts succeed?
— The Battle of Lake Regillus — The Romans take arms against the powerful Latine league headed by the expelled Tarquin nobles. The fighting is desperate and bloody: the event is decided only after the arrival upon the battlefield of the twin gods Castor and Pollux.
— Virginia — Virginia is the daughter of Virginius — a poor, honest Roman farmer-citizen. In former years Virginius enlisted as a legionary and shed his blood to fight Rome's enemies: now Virginius — like other Romans of the humbler sort — suffer the usurious exactions of noblemen like the wicked Appius Claudius. Appius Claudius uses spurious legal means to take possession of Virginia as his «runaway slave»: action guaranteed to succeed given the incumbent corrupt magistracy. So what can Virginius do? To what extremes is the father forced to protect his only child?
— The Prophecy of Capys — Romulus and Remus return triumphant to the home of their grandfather Capys. When they arrive, Capys — blind and well advanced in years — is seized by a prophetic frenzy: Capys declaims a series of portents describing the future battles and victories destined as the lot of Romulus' descendants.
(Introduction by Godsend)
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