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C.D. Warner, et al., comp.  The Library of the World’s Best Literature.
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes.  1917.
 
Defense of his Dictatorship
By Solon (c. 630–560 B.C.)
 
Translation of William Cranston Lawton

MY witness in the court of Time shall be
The mighty mother of Olympian gods,
The dusky Earth,—grateful that I plucked up
The boundary stones that were so thickly set;
So she, enslaved before, is now made free.        5
To Athens, too, their god-built native town,
Many have I restored that had been sold,
Some justly, some unfairly; some again
Perforce through death in exile. They no more
Could speak our language, wanderers so long.        10
Others, who shameful slavery here at home
Endured, in terror at their lords’ caprice,
I rendered free again.
                    This in my might
I did, uniting right and violence;
And what I had promised, so I brought to pass.        15
For base and noble equal laws I made,
Securing justice promptly for them both.—
Another one than I, thus whip in hand,
An avaricious evil-minded man,
Would not have checked the folk, nor left his post        20
Till he had stolen the rich cream away!
 
 
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