Friday, January 17, 2014

Leading the Original "III"

The Tuscans are at the bridge.

THIS is what it means to be a Patriot. And more, what it means to be one of the III!

by Lord Thomas Babington Macaulay (1800-1859)

But the Consul's brow was sad, and the Consul's speech was low,
And darkly looked he at the wall, and darkly at the foe.
"Their van will be upon us before the bridge goes down;
And if they once might win the bridge, what hope to save the town?"

Then out spoke brave
Horatius, the Captain of the Gate:
"To every man upon this earth, death cometh soon or late;
And how can man die better than facing fearful odds,
For the ashes of his fathers, and the temples of his Gods,

And for the tender mother who dandled him to rest,
And for the wife who nurses his baby at her breast,
And for the holy maidens who feed the eternal flame,
To save them from false Sextus, that wrought the deed of shame?

Hew down the bridge, Sir Consul, with all the speed ye may!
I, with two more to help me, will hold the foe in play.
In yon strait path, a thousand may well be stopped by three:
Now, who will stand on either hand and keep the bridge with me?'

Then out spake Spurius Lartius; a Ramnian proud was he:
"Lo, I will stand at thy right hand and keep the bridge with thee."
And out spake strong Herminius; of Titian blood was he:
"I will abide on thy left side, and keep the bridge with thee."

"Horatius," quoth the Consul, "as thou sayest, so let it be."
And straight against that great array forth went the dauntless Three.
For Romans in Rome's quarrel spared neither land nor gold,
Nor son nor wife, nor limb nor life, in the brave days of old.

Then none was for a party; then all were for the state; **
Then the great man helped the poor, and the poor man loved the great.
Then lands were fairly portioned; then spoils were fairly sold:
The Romans were like brothers in the brave days of old.

Now Roman is to Roman more hateful than a foe,
And the Tribunes beard the high, and the Fathers grind the low.
As we wax hot in faction, in battle we wax cold:
Wherefore men fight not as they fought in the brave days of old.

Now while the Three were tightening their harness on their backs,
The Consul was the foremost man to take in hand an axe:
And Fathers mixed with Commons seized hatchet, bar and crow,
And smote upon the planks above and loosed the props below.

Meanwhile the Tuscan army, right glorious to behold,
Came flashing back the noonday light,
Rank behind rank, like surges bright of a broad sea of gold.
Four hundred trumpets sounded a peal of warlike glee,
As that great host, with measured tread, and spears advanced, and ensigns spread,
Rolled slowly towards the bridge's head where stood the dauntless Three.

*this is an excerpt of the original poem. Read the whole thing. No, really, read the whole fucking thing! Seriously. HERE
**the bold segment here seems 'poetically' familiar, does it not? Just replace Romans with Americans.

We may call ourselves the III, as in the 3% who will stand against tyranny. But THIS is what it means to be one of the III!

And the Tuscans are at the bridge.

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