Lays of Ancient Rome with Ivry and The Armada, by Lord Macauley
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“And how can man die better
Than facing fearful odds,
For the ashes of his fathers,
And the temples of his gods?"
Published in 1842, Lays of Ancient Rome contains four narrative poems which Thomas Babington Macaulay hoped would resemble those that might have been sung in Rome in ancient times. Each is preceded by a brief introduction, explaining the legend on which they are based.
The best-known is the tale of Horatius bravely holding the bridge over the Tiber. The other poems tell of The Battle of Lake Regillus, an early Roman victory over the Latin League; the tragedy of Virginia, the daughter a poor farmer and The Prophecy of Capys, concerning Romulus and Remus.
Two ‘modern’ poems are included: Ivry (about the Huguenots) and The Armada (The Spanish Armada).
The book is over 150 years old, published by Longmans, Green and Co. in 1867 and printed by Spottiswoode. Established in the 1700s, Spottiswoode was the London-based printing firm that was the printer to the King. The book is indeed beautifully printed. There is a timeless feel about holding the copy in your hand