The wolf opened wide her grinning jaws, seized on first Romulus, then Remus, and ran with them to her lair.
ROMULUS AND REMUS
At first sight, I thought first as a modifier of Romulus. But then again, I thought it ought to be an adverb of the verb seized.
- As an adverb: seized first on Romulus, then Remus
- As an adjective: seized on first Romulus, then Remus
At any rate, could first be thought of as a modifier of Romulus? Think of this interpretation "Romulus whose destiny was to be picked up first." Of course if you have three items/people then the notion would extend to second Dylan, but third Billy might be off on stylistic and prosodic or any other grounds you might think of.
My question: If not in this context, would you come up with a sentence where "first Romulus", or any example of your choosing for that matter, is correct and has a similar interpretation as per above?
Edit: - A pdf file with the exact quote can be found here - The quote is merely a prompt to my question. You could safely ignore the quote and focus on the idea behind my question as an ESL learner.