The Passerby - Poem by Mark Sauer
I am the stranger passing by.
Last of a host that for long years
Filed past the lion, where they lie
Beneath the mound, three hundred peers;
A host vaster yet than Xerxes'
But slower in the mustering.
In march-column twenty five centuries
Long, each halts here, wondering.
I read, like all, their last command,
In letters near too faint to see
In marble worn as soft as sand
By the Lion of Thermopylae.
Dry Eurotas is now forgot,
Agora void of bronze clad men;
Gone the twin kings, gone the helot;
Where ephors met, a fox's den.
I disobey their dying pleas,
With shame break faith with those who fell:
I cannot tell them, Simonides;
There are no Spartans left to tell.
Poet's Notes about The Poem
'O stranger passing by, go and report to the Lacedaemonians that here
We lie at rest, the commands they gave us having been obeyed.'
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