The Lays of Ancient Rome

Thomas Babington MACAULAY (1800 - 1859)

The Lays of Ancient Rome comprise four narrative poems comprised by Lord Thomas Babington Macaulay: recalling popular episodes from Roman historical-legends that were strongly moral in tone: exemplifying Roman virtue against Latine perfidy.

The four poems are:

- Horatius - Horatius and two companions seek to hold back a large invading Etruscan force at the far end of a bridge over the Tiber River. The trio are willing to lay down their lives so as to prevent the Etruscans crossing and sacking the otherwise ill-defended Rome: it is a desperate gamble to buy enough time for the Romans to destroy the bridge in advance of the hostile army. But will their efforts succeed?

- The Battle of Lake Regillus - The Romans take arms against the powerful Latine league headed by the expelled Tarquin nobles. The fighting is desperate and bloody: the event is decided only after the arrival upon the battlefield of the twin gods Castor and Pollux.

- Virginia - Virginia is the daughter of Virginius - a poor, honest Roman farmer-citizen. In former years Virginius enlisted as a legionary and shed his blood to fight Rome's enemies: now Virginius - like other Romans of the humbler sort - suffer the usurious exactions of noblemen like the wicked Appius Claudius. Appius Claudius uses spurious legal means to take possession of Virginia as his "runaway slave": action guaranteed to succeed given the incumbent corrupt magistracy. So what can Virginius do? To what extremes is the father forced to protect his only child?

- The Prophecy of Capys - Romulus and Remus return triumphant to the home of their grandfather Capys. When they arrive, Capys - blind and well advanced in years - is seized by a prophetic frenzy: Capys declaims a series of portents describing the future battles and victories destined as the lot of Romulus' descendants.

(Introduction by Godsend)

Genre(s): Narratives

Language: English

Section Chapter Reader Time
Play 01 Horatius Nathan
00:23:18
Play 02 The Battle of the Lake Regillus Nathan
00:31:02
Play 03 Virginia Nathan
00:22:16
Play 04 The Prophecy of Capys Nathan
00:12:19