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SHOUT for the mighty men
Who died along this shore,
Who died within this mountain's glen!
Was laid on valor's crimson bed,
Sprang forth, than theirs who won the day
Shout for the mighty men
Who on the Persian tents,
Like lions from their midnight den
Like the roused elements,
Let loose from an immortal hand
But there are none to hear
Greece is a hopeless slave.
Leonidas! no hand is near
1 Xerxes, king of Persia, invaded Greece with an almost countless host, in 480 B.C. Leonidas, king of Sparta, with a small number of chosen men defended the rocky pass of Thermopyla (Ther-mop'y-lē), until the last of his heroic band fell. A monument was erected in the pass by the Greeks, which bore this inscription: "Go, traveller, and tell at Lacedæmon (Lace-de-mon) [or Sparta] that we fell here in obedience to her laws."
To lift thy fiery falchion1 now;
The voice that should be raised by men
And it is given! The surge,
The tree, the rock, the sand
On freedom's kneeling spirit urge,
Still gleams within the glorious dell
And is thy grandeur done?
Mother of men like these!
Has not thy outery gone
Where justice has an ear to hear?
Are plunged the chain and scimitar.
1 Falchion (fawl'chon): a short broadsword with a slightly curved point.
WHEN the British warrior queen,
Sage beneath the spreading oak
Princess! if our aged eyes
Weep upon thy matchless wrongs,
All the terrors of our tongues.
Rome shall perish — write that word
In the blood that she has spilt;
Perish, hopeless and abhorred,
1 Boadicea (Bo-ad-I-se'a): widow of a British chief, and queen of one of the tribes of the Britons. The Romans, who had conquered Britain, treated her and her daughter with atrocious cruelty and insult. Boadicea led a revolt against the conquerors of her country, and though at first successful was finally defeated, and, according to some accounts, killed at Battle Bridge, in what is now North London, A.D. 62.
2 Druid: a name of uncertain origin, though sometimes derived from drus, an oak, given to a priest of the ancient Britons. The Druids were also the poets, teachers, and historians of the people.
Rome, for empire far renowned,
Other Romans shall arise,
Heedless of a soldier's name;
Sounds, not arms, shall win the prize,
Then the progeny that springs
From the forests of our land,
Shall a wider world command.4
Regions Cæsar never knew
Thy posterity shall sway;
Such the bard's prophetic words,
Of his sweet but awful lyre.
1 Gaul: the Gauls, or inhabitants of France, did not attack Rome or invade Roman territory in Italy after 284 B.C. The city finally fell through the invasion of the northern barbarians. Here, Gaul may be used in a general sense for any uncivilized people.
2 Thunder: the thunder of firearms, especially cannon.
8 Wings: alluding to the sails of ships.
4 Wider world command: Britain became the greatest exploring, conquering, and colonizing nation on the globe; but as the ancient Britons were in great measure killed off or driven into Wales and Cornwall by the Saxons in the fifth century, they can hardly be said to have had much part in this movement.
5 Eagles: alluding to the figure of the eagle on the Roman war-standards.