James and Mary Ford, eds. Every Day in the Year. 1902.

August 7


By George Croly (1780–1860)

  • The battle of Thermopylæ was fought on August 7, 480 B.C. Leonidas and a small army of Greeks held a narrow pass against Xerxes and a vast army. Leonidas was slain.

  • SHOUT for the mighty men

    Who died along this shore,

    Who died within this mountain’s glen!

    For never nobler chieftain’s head

    Was laid on valor’s crimson bed,

    Nor ever prouder gore

    Sprang forth, than theirs who won the day

    Upon thy strand, Thermopylæ!

    Shout for the mighty men

    Who on the Persian tents,

    Like lions from their midnight den

    Bounding on the slumbering deer,

    Rushed—a storm of sword and spear;

    Like the roused elements,

    Let loose from an immortal hand

    To chasten or to crush a land!

    But there are none to hear—

    Greece is a hopeless slave.

    Leonidas! no hand is near

    To lift thy fiery falchion now;

    No warrior makes the warrior’s vow

    Upon thy sea-washed grave.

    The voice that should be raised by men

    Must now be given by wave and glen.

    And it is given!—the surge,

    The tree, the rock, the sand

    On freedom’s kneeling spirit urge,

    In sounds that speak but to the free,

    The memory of thine and thee!

    The vision of thy band

    Still gleams within the glorious dell

    Where their gore hallowed as it fell!

    And is thy grandeur done?

    Mother of men like these!

    Has not thy outcry gone

    Where justice has an ear to hear?—

    Be holy! God shall guide thy spear,

    Till in thy crimsoned seas

    Are plunged the chain and scimitar.

    Greece shall be a new-born star!