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Lays of Ancient Rome

4.08  ·  Rating details ·  294 Ratings  ·  21 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?
Aug 27, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry, ancient
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.
Katie Lowe
Apr 21, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Mark Lacy
Dec 03, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: abandoned
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.
Aug 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
XLIII, from Horatius

He smiled on those bold Romans
A smile serene and high;
He eyed the flinching Tuscans,
And scorn was in his eye.
Quoth he, "The she-wolf's litter
Stand savagely at bay:
But will ye dare to follow,
If Astur clears the way?''
Matthew Colvin
Jun 17, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
So much fun.
Aug 06, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Jul 21, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Anne Beardsley
Once you've looked up the names and references you don't understand (thank you, O Wikipedia), this book is pure gravy.

It's a very Victorian collection of poetry: there is more blood, honor, guts, and glory in a sterner, straighter telling than you would get from a modern author. At the same time, there are entire stanzas that just give you a view of the countryside -- nothing else. And the stories are unforgettable.

image: description

Macualay's emphasis is on telling a thundering good story, a content rath
Justin Neo
Apr 09, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Like many others, Horatius at the Bridge was what drew my initial attention to this book. However, the other lays contain beautiful narrative poetry on politics, heroism and character. A 2000 year old story told, retold and finally captured in poetry by Lord Macaulay still remains relevant and entertaining. The language is clear and easy to follow, and the rhymes make the lays easy to remember. I would say that this is a fantastic book which should be on everyone's must-read list.
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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...
“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…