Felicia Dorothea Hemans

(25 September 1793 – 16 May 1835 / Liverpool, England)

The Shade Of Theseus - Ancient Greek Tradition


Know ye not when our dead
From sleep to battle sprung?
-When the Persian charger's tread
On their cowering greensward rung!
When the trampling march of foes
Had crush'd our vines and flowers,
When jewell'd crests arose
Through the holy laurel-bowers,

When banners caught the breeze,
When helms in sunlight shone,
When masts were on the seas,
And spears on Marathon.

There was one, a leader crown'd,
And arm'd for Greece that day;
But the falchions made no sound
On his gleaming war-array.
In the battle's front he stood,
With his tall and shadowy crest;
But the arrows drew no blood
Though their path was through his breast.

When banners caught the breeze,
When helms in sunlight shone,
When masts were on the seas,
And spears on Marathon.

His sword was seen to flash
Where the boldest deeds were done;
But it smote without a clash;
The stroke was heard by none!
His voice was not of those
That swell'd the rolling blast,
And his steps fell hush'd like snows-
'Twas the Shade of Theseus pass'd!

When banners caught the breeze,
When helms in sunlight shone,
When masts were on the seas,
And spears on Marathon.

Far sweeping through the foe,
With a fiery charge he bore;
And the Mede left many a bow
On the sounding ocean-shore.
And the foaming waves grew red,
And the sails were crowded fast,
When the sons of Asia fled,
As the Shade of Theseus pass'd!

When banners caught the breeze,
When helms in sunlight shone,
When masts were on the seas,
And spears on Marathon.

Submitted: Thursday, April 08, 2010

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