Shall not Fame their story tell,
Why they fought, and why they fell?
'Twas to be free!
O! who would live a crouching slave,
While yet this earth can give a grave?
Who would not rather death than shame,
While thinking on thine awful name,
Small their number, high their pride,
Great they lived, and nobly died,
Friends and brothers, side by side,
Within that pass:
His barbarous hordes, and countless hosts
The Persian brought from distant coasts;
Like hunted deer those hosts were slain
Before thine arm their might was vain,
Curse on him who did betray
Sparta's sons, and showed the way
Where every hope of victory lay
To Persia's bands!
But Sparta's sons, a hero each,
Did, on that day, a lesson teach
How liberty in death is won,
What deeds with Freedom's sword are done
In freemen's hands!
Circled by a sea of blood,
Pressed by thousands, still they stood,
Fighting, falling, unsubdued,
They scorned to breathe the breath of slaves,
They fought for free and hallowed graves;
And though they fell in glory's hour,
The Persian overcame their power,
But—-not their will!
Let them rest—-nought could appal
Those who armed at Honour's call:
Fell they not as heroes fall—-
Then, let them rest—-their race is run;
O! let them rest; their day is done;
They found them each a glorious grave,
But still their fame is on thy wave,