In cavern green,
haunt of the war-god, lay the mother-wolf;
the twin boy-sucklings at her udders played,
nor feared such nurse; with long neck backward thrown
she fondled each, and shaped with busy tongue
their bodies fair. Near these were pictured well
the walls of Rome and ravished Sabine wives
in the thronged theatre violently seized,
when the great games were done; then, sudden war
of Romulus against the Cures grim
and hoary Tatius; next, the end of strife
between the rival kings, who stood in arms
before Jove's sacred altar, cup in hand,
and swore a compact o'er the slaughtered swine.
Hard by, behold, the whirling chariots tore
Mettus asunder (would thou hadst been true,
false Alban, to thy vow!); and Tullus trailed
the traitor's mangled corse along the hills,
the wild thorn dripping gore. Porsenna, next,
sent to revolted Rome his proud command
to take her Tarquin back, and with strong siege
assailed the city's wall; while unsubdued
Aeneas' sons took arms in freedom's name.
there too the semblance of the frustrate King,
a semblance of his wrath and menace vain,
when Cocles broke the bridge, and Cloelia burst
her captive bonds and swam the Tiber's wave.
Lo, on the steep Tarpeian citadel
stood Manlius at the sacred doors of Jove,
holding the capitol, whereon was seen
the fresh-thatched house of Romulus the King.
There, too, all silver, through arcade of gold
fluttered the goose, whose monitory call
revealed the foeman at the gate: outside
besieging Gauls the thorny pathway climbed,
ambushed in shadow and the friendly dark
of night without a star; their flowing hair
was golden, and their every vesture gold;
their cloaks were glittering plaid; each milk-white neck
bore circlet of bright gold; in each man's hand
two Alpine javelins gleamed, and for defence
long shields the wild northern warriors bore.
There, graven cunningly, the Salian choir
went leaping, and in Lupercalian feast
the naked striplings ran; while others, crowned
with peaked cap, bore shields that fell from heaven;
and, bearing into Rome their emblems old,
chaste priestesses on soft-strewn litters passed.
But far from these th' artificer divine
had wrought a Tartarus, the dreadful doors
of Pluto, and the chastisements of sin;
swung o'er a threatening precipice, was seen
thy trembling form, O Catiline, in fear
of fury-faces nigh: and distant far
th' assemblies of the righteous, in whose midst
was Cato, giving judgment and decree.
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