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a hundred columns lifted it in air
upon the city's crown—the royal keep
of Picus of Laurentum; round it lay
deep, gloomy woods by olden worship blest.
Here kings took sceptre and the fasces proud
with omens fair; the selfsame sacred place
was senate-house and temple; here was found
a hall for hallowed feasting, where a ram
was offered up, and at long banquet-boards
the nation's fathers sat in due array.
Here ranged ancestral statues roughly hewn
of ancient cedar-wood: King Italus;
Father Sabinus, planter of the vine,
a curving sickle in his sculptured hand;
gray-bearded Saturn; and the double brow
of Janus' head; and other sires and kings
were wardens of the door, with many a chief
wounded in battle for his native land.
Trophies of arms in goodly order hung
along the columns: chariots of war
from foeman taken, axes of round blade,
plumed helmets, bolts and barriers of steel
from city-gates, shields, spears, and beaks of bronze
from captured galleys by the conqueror torn.
Here, wielding his Quirinal augur-staff,
girt in scant shift, and bearing on his left
the sacred oval shield, appeared enthroned
Picus, breaker of horses, whom his bride,
enamoured Circe, smote with golden wand,
and, raining o'er him potent poison-dew,
changed to a bird of pied and dappled wings.
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