Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 78.djvu/494

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
It is hard, perhaps, to comfort those who are in such a sorrow; grief is not laid to rest by speech or by observance; rather is it for the nature of the mourner and the nearness of the lost to determine the boundaries of anguish. Still we must take heart and lighten pain as we may and remember not only the death of the departed but the good name also that they have left behind them. We owe not tears to their fate but rather great praises to their deeds. If they came not to old age among men, they have got the glory that never grows old and have been made blessed perfectly. Those among them who died childless shall have as their inheritors the immortal eulogies of Greece and those of them who have left children behind them have bequeathed a trust of which their country's love will assume the guardianship.

More than this, if to die is to be as though we had never been, then these have passed away from sickness and pain and from all the accidents of the earthly life; or if there is consciousness in the next world and if—as we conjecture—the care of the Divine Power is over it, then it may well be that they who rendered aid to the worship of the gods, in the hour of its imminent desolation, are most precious to that Power's Providence.[1]

Hardly less eloquent were the memorials perpetuated by the sculptor's chisel in handsome marbles and enduring bronze. The matchless, Athenian military relief, raised in the Ceramicus Cemetery to Dexileos, one of the Glorified Five in the dashing cavalry charge in the Corinthian War (394 B.C.) still stands, a noble testimonial in marble to the mighty triumph of The Last Battle, with its rearing charger and exultant knight transfixing with his spear the fallen foe. Though this may not be a monument erected by the nation, but the patriotic offering of some friend or admirer, it is valuable for our purpose as one of the few memorials to the individual as distinguished from the triumph of the cause.

But the long and notable list of monuments and trophies to the heroic dead began a century before, soon after Marathon (490 B.C., with the dedication of the little Doric treasure-house, set up by the Athenians out of the Persian spoils, in the holiest place of Greece, at the oracle of Delphi, "the Center of the Earth," and the point of pilgrimage of thousands, on religious mission bent, from all parts of the ancient world. The remains of this, the noblest memorial of the victory at Marathon, have been found in recent years and the sculptured reliefs of Pentelic marble, safely preserved, with their story of Theseus and Hercules, and the battle of gods and giants—symbolic of the recent contests—reveal a chaste grace that must have given an unique architectural delicacy to the whole structure.

The famous battle-pictures by Micon, in the Portico of Frescoes in the Athenian market-place, painted a quarter of a century later, furnished, however, a livelier idea and glorified most effectively the heroes of this most celebrated battle of history. In one scene, the Athenians charge the trousered Persians; in another, the Persians, in their confusion, rush into the marsh in their flight to their ships; in still

  1. Hypereides in Jebb's "Attio Orators."