EXHORTATION TO BATTLE
- OW long
will ye slumber? when will ye take heart
- And fear the reproach of your neighbors at hand?
- Fie! comrades, to think ye have peace for your part,
- Whilst the sword and the arrow are wasting our land!
- Shame! grasp the shield close! cover well the bold breast!
- Aloft raise the spear as ye march on your foe!
- With no thought of retreat, with no terror confessed,
- Hurl your last dart in dying, or strike your last blow.
- Oh, 't is noble and glorious to fight for our all,--
- For our country, our children, the wife of our love!
- Death comes not the sooner; no soldier shall fall,
- Ere his thread is spun out by the sisters above.
- Once to die is man's doom; rush, rush to the fight!
- He cannot escape, though his blood were Jove's own.
- For a while let him cheat the shrill arrow by flight;
- Fate will catch him at last in his chamber alone.
- Unlamented he dies; -- unregretted. Not so,
- When, the tower of his country, in death falls the brave;
- Thrice hallowed his name amongst all, high or low,
- As with blessings alive, so with tears in the grave.
This English translation by Henry
Nelson Coleridge of 'Exhortation to Battle' is reprinted from
Greek Poets in English Verse. Ed. William Hyde Appleton.
Cambridge: Riverside Press, 1893.