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The Prophecy Of Capys



A Lay Sung at the Banquet in the Capitol, on the Day Whereon Manius Curius Dentatus, a Second Time Consul, Triumphed Over King Pyrrhus and the Tarentines, in the Year of the City CCCCLXXIX.

I.
Now slain is King Amulius,
Of the great Sylvian line,
Who reigned in Alba Longa,
On the throne of Aventine.
Slain is the Ponfiff Camers,
Who spake the words of doom:
'The children to the Tiber,
The mother to the tomb.'

II.
In Alba's lake no fisher
His net to-day is flinging;
On the dark rind of Alba's oaks
To-day no axe is ringing;
The yoke hangs o'er the manger;
The scythe lies in the hay:
Through all the Alban villages
No work is done to-day.

III.
And every Alban burgher
Hath donned his whitest gown;
And every head in Alba
Weareth a poplar crown;
And every Alban door-post
With boughs and flowers is gay,
For to-day the dead are living,
The lost are found to-day.

IV.
They were doomed by a bloody king,
They were doomed by a lying priest,
They were cast on the raging flood,
They were tracked by the raging beast;
Raging beast and raging flood
Alike have spared the prey;
And to-day the dead are living,
The lost are found to-day.

V.
The troubled river knew them,
And smoothed his yellow foam,
And gently rocked the cradle
That bore the fate of Rome.
The ravening she-wolf knew them,
And licked them o'er and o'er,
And gave them of her own fierce milk,
Rich with raw flesh and gore.
Twenty winters, twenty springs,
Since then have rolled away;
And to-day the dead are living:
The lost are found to-day.

VI.
Blithe it was to see the twins,
Right goodly youths and tall,
Marching from Alba Longa
To their old grandsire's hall.
Along their path fresh garlands
Are hung from tree to tree:
Before them stride the pipers,
Piping a note of glee.

VII.
On the right goes Romulus,
With arms to the elbows red,
And in his hand a broadsword,
And on the blade a head-
A head in an iron helmet,
With horse-hair hanging down,
A shaggy head, a swarthy head,
Fixed in a ghastly frown-
The head of King Amulius
Of the great Sylvian line,
Who reigned in Alba Longa,
On the throne of Aventine.

VIII.
On the left side goes Remus,
With wrists and fingers red,
And in his hand a boar-spear,
And on the point a head-
A wrinkled head and aged,
With silver beard and hair,
And holy fillets round it,
Such as the pontiffs wear-
The head of ancient Camers,
Who spake the words of doom:
'The children to the Tiber;
The mother to the tomb.'

IX.
Two and two behind the twins
Their trusty comrades go,
Four and forty valiant men,
With club, and axe, and bow.
On each side every hamlet
Pours forth its joyous crowd,
Shouting lads and baying dogs,
And children laughing loud,
And old men weeping fondly
As Rhea's boys go by,
And maids who shriek to see the heads,
Yet, shrieking, press more nigh.

X.
So marched they along the lake;
They marched by fold and stall,
By cornfield and by vineyard,
Unto the old man's hall.

XI.
In the hall-gate sat Capys,
Capys, the sightless seer;
From head to foot he trembled
As Romulus drew near.
And up stood stiff his thin white hair,
And his blind eyes flashed fire:
'Hail! foster child of the wondrous nurse!
Hail! son of the wondrous sire!'

XII.
'But thou-what dost thou here
In the old man's peaceful hall?
What doth the eagle in the coop,
The bison in the stall?
Our corn fills many a garner;
Our vines clasp many a tree;
Our flocks are white on many a hill:
But these are not for thee.

XIII.
'For thee no treasure ripens
In the Tartessian mine;
For thee no ship brings precious bales
Across the Libyan brine;
Thou shalt not drink from amber;
Thou shalt not rest on down;
Arabia shall not steep thy locks,
Nor Sidon tinge thy gown.

XIV.
'Leave gold and myrrh and jewels,
Rich table and soft bed,
To them who of man's seed are born,
Whom woman's milk have fed.
Thou wast not made for lucre,
For pleasure, nor for rest;
Thou, that art sprung from the War-god's loins,
And hast tugged at the she-wolf's breast.

XV.
'From sunrise unto sunset
All earth shall hear thy fame:
A glorious city thou shalt build,
And name it by thy name:
And there, unquenched through ages,
Like Vesta's sacred fire,
Shall live the
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Submitted on May 13, 2011

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