Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, WAR-SONGS: 4, by TYRTAEUS



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WAR-SONGS: 4, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Rouse, rouse, my youths! The chain of torpor break
Last Line: The deeds of many a hero meet in one!
Alternate Author Name(s): Tyrtaios
Subject(s): War


ROUSE, rouse, my youths! the chain of torpor break!
Spurn idle rest, and couch the glittering lance!
What! does not shame with blushes stain your cheek
Quick-mantling, as ye catch the warrior's glance?

Ignoble youths! say, when shall valour's flame
Burn in each breast? Here, here, while hosts invade,
And war's wild clangours all your courage claim,
Ye sit, as if still peace embowered the shade.

But, sure, fair honour crowns the auspicious deed,
When patriot love impels us to the field;
When, to defend a trembling wife, we bleed,
And when our sheltered offspring bless the shield.

What time the fates ordain, pale death appears:
Then, with firm step and sword high drawn, depart;
And, marching through the first thick shower of spears,
Beneath thy buckler guard the intrepid heart.

Each mortal, though he boast celestial fires,
Slave to the sovereign destiny of death,
Or mid the carnage of the plain expires,
Or yields unwept at home his coward breath.

Yet sympathy attends the brave man's bier;
Sees on each wound the balmy grief bestowed;
And, as in death the universal tear,
Through life inspires the homage of a god.

For like a turret his proud glories rise,
And stand, above the rival's reach, alone;
While millions hail, with fond, adoring eyes,
The deeds of many a hero meet in one!




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