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THE GAMBLER'S WIFE.
THE GAMBLER'S WIFE.-COATES.
ARK is the night! how dark! no light! no fire!
"Hark! 'tis his footstep!-no-'tis past: 'tis gone;
"Rest thee, my babe!-rest on!-'tis hunger's cry!
"Hush! 'tis the dice-box! Yes, he's there, he's there;
Leaves love! leaves truth! his wife! his child! for what?
"Yet I'll not curse him! no! 'tis all in vain!
"Hark! how the sign-board creaks! the blast howls by! Moan! moan! a dirge swells through the cloudy sky! Ha! 'tis his knock! he comes !-he comes once more! " "Tis but the lattice flaps! thy hope is o'er!
"Can he desert me thus? he knows I stay
"Nestle more closely, dear one, to my heart!
Oh God! protect my child!" The clock strikes three.
They're gone! they're gone! the glimmering spark hath sped!
The gambler came at last-but all was o'er-
EAR me, you wrangling pirates, that fall out
Ah, gentle villain, do not turn away!
A husband and a son thou owest to me,-
Decked in thy rights as thou art stalled in mine!
If heaven have any grievous plague in store,
No sleep close up that deadly eye of thine,
PORSENA of Clusium, by the Nine Gods he swore
That the great house of Tarquin should suffer wrong nomore. By the Nine Gods he swore it, and named a trysting day, And bade his messengers ride forth, east and west and south and
To summon his array.
By the yellow Tiber was tumult and affright:
From all the spacious champaign to Rome men took their flight. A mile around the city the throng stopped up the ways;
A fearful sight it was to see through two long nights and days.
Now from the rock Tarpeian could the wan burghers spy
They held a council, standing before the river-gate:
For, since Janiculum is lost, naught else can save the town.”
Just then a scout came flying, all wild with haste and fear:
The Consul's brow was sad, and the Consul's speech was low,
"Their van will be upon us before the bridge goes down;
And if they once may win the bridge, what hope to save the town?"
Then out spake brave Horatius, the Captain of the gate,
"Hew down the bridge, Sir Consul, with all the speed ye may; I, with two more to help me, will hold the foe in play. In yon straight path a thousand may well be stopped by three. Now, who will stand on either hand and keep the bridge with me?"
Then out spake Spurius Lartius,—a Ramnian proud was he,— "Lo, I will stand on thy right hand, and keep the bridge with thee."
And out spake strong Herminius, of Titian blood was he,-“I will abide on thy left side, and keep the bridge with thee."
"Horatius," quoth the Consul, "as thou sayest, so let it be." And straight against that great array, forth went the dauntless
For Romans in Rome's quarrel spared neither land nor gold,
Meanwhile the Tuscan army, right glorious to behold,
Rank behind rank, like surges bright
Of a broad sea of gold.
Four hundred trumpets sounded a peal of warlike glee,
And spears advanced, and ensigns spread,
Rolled slowly toward the bridge's head,
The Three stood calm and silent, and looked upon the foes,
And forth three chiefs came spurring before that mighty mass,
To earth they sprang, their swords they drew
To win the narrow pass:
Aunus from green Tifernum, Lord of the Hill of Vines;
From that gray crag where, girt with towers,
O'er the pale waves of Nar.
Stout Lartius hurled down Aunus into the stream beneath:
And the proud Umbrian's gilded arms clashed in the bloody dust.
Then Ocnus of Falerii rushed on the Roman Three;
And Aruns of Volsinium, who slew the great wild boar,
Amidst the reeds of Cosa's fen,
And wasted fields and slaughtered men
Herminius smote down Aruns; Lartius laid Ocnus low;
"Lie there," he cried, "fell pirate! No more, aghast and pale, From Ostia's walls the crowd shall mark
The track of thy destroying bark.
No more Campania's hinds shall fly
To woods and caverns when they spy
But now no sound of laughter was heard amongst the foes.