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Lays of Ancient Rome

4.13 of 5 stars 4.13  ·  rating details  ·  138 ratings  ·  13 reviews
Now in the public domain, the "Lays of Ancient Rome" by Thomas Babington Macaulay were originally published in 1842. Immensely popular in England during Victorian times, these ballads are still a popular subject for recitation. As a student, Winston Churchill memorized them to prove his mental capabilities. This edition, newly typeset, includes all four of Macaulay's lays, ...more
Paperback, 104 pages
Published November 2nd 2009 by CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (first published 1842)
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Celebrity Death Match Special: Horatio at the Bridge versus Austin Powers, International Man of Mystery

[Late 6th century B.C. A plain before Rome. Enter LARS PORSENA, MAMILIUS, SEXTUS, their various VASSALS and RETAINERS, the ENTIRE TUSCAN ARMY and DR and SCOTT EVIL]

DR EVIL: [rubbing hands gleefully] We're almost there. We just cross the bridge, eliminate the token guard force, enter the now undefended city and sack and plunder it to our heart's content. Oh, this is so evil! Why have we stopped?
I had a Latin teacher in high school who assigned this and at the time, I found it boring because I didn’t understand the history that underlay the poems or the influence of the period in which they were written. This time around, I enjoyed them, especially “Horatius” and “The Battle of Lake Regillus”. The poem, “Ivry” is an interesting look at a battle between the Huguenots and the Catholic League in 1590, and “The Armada” is a thrilling look at the arrival of the Spanish Armada in 1588. Not li ...more
Mark Lacy
Gave up on it after about 25% of way through. Accompanying text too hard to follow, too "scholarly", and the lays themselves not that interesting. Just thought I'd try it, after seeing the book in the movie, "Oblivion", starring Tom Cruise.
Katie Lowe
Informs as it fascinates, Macaulay's Lays is altogether my favorite work of poetry. The words are evocative like no other poet I've read - Macauley manages to spin together action, suspense, gore, horror, and melodrama. Horatius at the Bridge is the highlight of the whole book, although the others are enjoyable too (Capys the least of the bunch): Regillus takes Horatius's Iliadic tone and expands it into a larger epic, Virginia brings to mind a short stage melodrama, and Capys is mostly a histor ...more
J. Gowin
As a collection of poetry its greatness is best shown by its wonderfull quotability.
Udayaditya Dwivedi
Beautiful poetry .. The way the story is portrayed sends a chill down your spine.loved it.
Ez Poschman
Horatius at the Bridge is one of the greatest story-poems ever! Though it never alludes to it directly, it's dealing with the aftermath of Lucrece's post-rape suicide and the subsequent establishment of the Roman republic, 500 years before the empire. The events are treated as fact by early Roman historians, though there are variations in the tale. Unlike other stories of the era, nothing impossible happens, no gods or goddesses show up. This may have actually happened!
Jennifer Freitag
Not a lot is written or read about the very far-off, ancient days of Rome, before Rome became Mistress of the World, the immense politic figure that we remember today. These poems, of heroes and their battles, are just the sort of inspiring thing which captures my imagination. The unabashed vividness, the potency, even the basic beauty of the metre which begs to be read aloud, all mark this collection as a keeper.
This is a 100-year-old textbook filled with Macaulay's heroic poetry. I enjoyed it very much. It was originally of interest as Winston Churchill memorized the first very long poem in the book. I wish that when I was being force fed poetry in my junior high and high school English classes this had been on the reading list.
An endless list of people I never heard of and never want to hear of, written in a meter that makes you feel seasick. Who could ever have had the taste for this sort of thing?
A very interesting read on some of the earlier days of Rome.
Pam Sarver
Vintage 1842 copy
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Thomas Babington Macaulay, 1st Baron Macaulay PC (25 October 1800 – 28 December 1859) was a British poet, historian and Whig politician. He wrote extensively as an essayist and reviewer, and on British history. He also held political office as Secretary at War between 1839 and 1841 and Paymaster-General between 1846 and 1848.

As a young man he composed the ballads Ivry and The Armada, which he late
More about Thomas Babington Macaulay...
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“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”
“And how can man die better
Than facing fearful odds
For the ashes of his fathers
And the temples of his Gods?”
More quotes…