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A sacred custom the Hesperian land
of Latium knew, by all the Alban hills
honored unbroken, which wide-ruling Rome
keeps to this day, when to new stroke she stirs
the might of Mars; if on the Danube's wave
resolved to fling the mournful doom of war,
or on the Caspian folk or Arabs wild;
or chase the morning far as India's verge,
ind from the Parthian despot wrest away
our banners Iost. Twin Gates of War there be,
of fearful name, to Mars' fierce godhead vowed:
a hundred brass bars shut them, and the strength
of uncorrupting steel; in sleepless watch
Janus the threshold keeps. 'T is here, what time
the senate's voice is war, the consul grave
in Gabine cincture and Quirinal shift
himself the griding hinges backward moves,
and bids the Romans arm; obedient then
the legionary host makes Ioud acclaim,
and hoarse consent the brazen trumpets blow.
Thus King Latinus on the sons of Troy
was urged to open war, and backward roll
those gates of sorrow: but the aged king
recoiled, refused the loathsome task, and fled
to solitary shades. Then from the skies
the Queen of gods stooped down, and her sole hand
the lingering portal moved; Saturnia
swung on their hinges the barred gates of war.
ausonia from its old tranquillity
bursts forth in flame. Foot-soldiers through the field
run to and fro; and mounted on tall steeds
the cavaliers in clouds of dust whirl by.
All arm in haste. Some oil the glittering shield
or javelin bright, or on the whetstone wear
good axes to an edge, while joyful bands
uplift the standards or the trumpets blow.
Five mighty cities to their anvils bring
new-tempered arms: Atina—martial name —
proud Tibur, Ardea, Crustumium,
and river-walled Antemnae, crowned with towers
strong hollow helmets on their brows they draw
and weave them willow-shields; or melt and mould
corselets of brass or shining silver greaves;
none now for pruning-hook or sacred plough
have love or care: but old, ancestral swords
for hardier tempering to the smith they bring.
Now peals the clarion; through the legions pass
the watchwords: the impatient yeoman takes
his helmet from the idle roof-tree hung;
while to his chariot the master yokes
the mettled war-horse, dons a shining shield
and golden mail, and buckles his good sword.

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load focus Notes (Georgius Thilo, 1881)
load focus Notes (John Conington, 1876)
load focus English (John Dryden)
load focus Latin (J. B. Greenough, 1900)
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Troy (Turkey) (1)
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