Saturday, October 13, 2007

How can man die better?

Published in 1842, the "Lays of Ancient Rome" is collection of ballads about heroic episodes in Roman history composed by Thomas Babington Macaulay. Incidentally, Lord Macaulay is the person we should all thank for a bilingual colonial India and for the Indian Penal Code! :)

But I digress. Coming back to the Lays...

I just wrapped up Forsyth's "The Afghan"... and on a couple of occasions, the lead character quotes lines from the lead poem of the Lays, "Horatius". The poem
concerns Horatius Cocles' heroic defense of the bridge to Rome against the Tuscan Army. I happened to read the poem, and while all of its 70 verses makes for an awesome read, the following lines are particularly powerful!

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

2 comments:

cheezewhizzkid said...

very cool ... i came across the poem when trying to understand where all the paternal references in Stephen King's Dark Tower series came from.

" For the ashes of his fathers " happens to be one of the lines that inspired him to write ...

"Remember the face of your father " .. which went on to become a pivotal phrase in the book.

Good work inspires more of its kind.

Good stuff

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