ON THOSE WHO DIED AT THERMOPYLAE
Of those who at Thermopylae were slain,
Glorious the doom, and beautiful the lot;
Their tomb an altar: men from tears refrain
To honor them, and praise, but mourn them not.
Such sepulchre, nor drear decay 5
Nor all-destroying time shall waste; this right have they.
Within their grave the home-bred glory
Of Greece was laid: this witness gives
Leonidas the Spartan, in whose story 10
A wreath of famous virtue ever lives.
Translated by John Sterling.
- When the Persians invaded Greece in 480 B. C., Leonidas, king of Sparta, went to hold the pass of Thermopylae against them. When by a circuitous route the Persians entered the pass, Leonidas dismissed his army except three hundred Spartans and seven hundred Thespians, who died on the field faithful to their trust.