“Then out spake 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.”
Lord Thomas Babington Macaulay’s classic collection of four lays describe heroic episodes from ancient Roman history. They are a delightful literary adventure which allow the reader to enjoy a high point in European culture while learning some incredible details of Roman history.
The first two poems describe famous conflicts which led to the creation of the Republic: the story of Horatio’s defense of the bridge over the Tiber, and the Battle of Lake Regillus (where the Etruscan King Tarquinius was defeated).
The third lay tells the story of the Plebeian uprising against their near-slave conditions, and the fourth tells of the Pyrrhic and Punic Wars.
These masterpieces of literary writing were so highly regarded that they were required reading in British public schools for more than a hundred years—until they were deliberately replaced by the current “dumbed-down” anti-European curricula found in Western schools today.
This edition contains the author’s original introduction and his overview of each lay.