Verse > Anthologies > James and Mary Ford, eds. > Every Day in the Year
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James and Mary Ford, eds.  Every Day in the Year.  1902.
 
August 7
Leonidas
By George Croly (1780–1860)
 
          The battle of Thermopylæ was fought on August 7, 480 B.C. Leonidas and a small army of Greeks held a narrow pass against Xerxes and a vast army. Leonidas was slain.

SHOUT for the mighty men
    Who died along this shore,
Who died within this mountain’s glen!
For never nobler chieftain’s head
Was laid on valor’s crimson bed,        5
    Nor ever prouder gore
Sprang forth, than theirs who won the day
Upon thy strand, Thermopylæ!
 
Shout for the mighty men
    Who on the Persian tents,        10
Like lions from their midnight den
Bounding on the slumbering deer,
Rushed—a storm of sword and spear;
    Like the roused elements,
Let loose from an immortal hand        15
To chasten or to crush a land!
 
But there are none to hear—
    Greece is a hopeless slave.
Leonidas! no hand is near
To lift thy fiery falchion now;        20
No warrior makes the warrior’s vow
    Upon thy sea-washed grave.
The voice that should be raised by men
Must now be given by wave and glen.
 
And it is given!—the surge,        25
    The tree, the rock, the sand
On freedom’s kneeling spirit urge,
In sounds that speak but to the free,
The memory of thine and thee!
    The vision of thy band        30
Still gleams within the glorious dell
Where their gore hallowed as it fell!
 
And is thy grandeur done?
    Mother of men like these!
Has not thy outcry gone        35
Where justice has an ear to hear?—
Be holy! God shall guide thy spear,
    Till in thy crimsoned seas
Are plunged the chain and scimitar.
Greece shall be a new-born star!        40
 
 
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