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Thomas Babington Macaulay

1800–1859. British poet, historian, and politician.

Encyclopedia Britannica }

At a Glance

Rilla of Ingleside (1)

Lays of Ancient Rome (1842 narrative poem)

“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,

“And for the tender mother
   Who dandled him to rest,
And for the wife who nurses
   His baby at her breast,
And for the holy maidens
   Who feed the eternal flame,
To save them from false Sextus
   That wrought the deed of shame? (“Horatius,” Stanzas 27–28)

Rilla of Ingleside, chapter 11 (“how could men die better than fighting for the ashes of their fathers and the temples of their gods”).


Thomas Babington Macaulay, Lays of Ancient Rome (1842; London: Longman, Brown, Green, and Longmans, 1847), p. 56. Online at

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