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'Terribilis visu facies, sed mente benignus, / Longaque robusto pectore barba fuit!'

Fishburn and Hughes: 'He was of frightening appearance but had a gentle nature / and his long beard fell on his strong chest': from the anonymous epitaph to Droctulft which appears in full in Paul the Deacon's History of the Lombards (3. 19). The lines are quoted by Gibbon in chapter 45 of the Decline and Fall to describe 'the influence of climate and example' which the Lombards underwent in contact with the culture of Italy. Gibbon remarks that the Lombards so succumbed to the influence of those they conquered that by the fourth generation 'they surveyed with curiosity and affright the portraits of their savage forefathers'. The lines are quoted also by Croce in La Poesia as an example of poetry blossoming spontaneously in the most unexpected situations. See 'Contempsit caros ...' Story of the Warrior and the Captive Maiden