Verse > Anthologies > The World’s Best Poetry > Vol. VIII. National Spirit
  PREVIOUSNEXT  
CONTENTS · BOOK CONTENTS · BIBLIOGRAPHIC RECORD
Bliss Carman, et al., eds.  The World’s Best Poetry.
Volume VIII. National Spirit.  1904.
 
III. War
Song of the Greeks
Thomas Campbell (1777–1844)
 
[1821]

  AGAIN to the battle, Achaians!
  Our hearts bid the tyrants defiance;
Our land,—the first garden of Liberty’s-tree,—
Has been, and shall yet be, the land of the free;
  For the cross of our faith is replanted,        5
  The pale dying crescent is daunted,
And we march that the footprints of Mahomet’s slaves
May be washed out in blood from our forefathers’ graves.
  Their spirits are hovering o’er us,
  And the sword shall to glory restore us.        10
 
  Ah! what though no succor advances,
  Nor Christendom’s chivalrous lances
Are stretched in our aid?—Be the combat our own!
And we ’ll perish or conquer more proudly alone;
  For we ’ve sworn by our country’s assaulters,        15
  By the virgins they ’ve dragged from our altars,
By our massacred patriots, our children in chains,
By our heroes of old, and their blood in our veins,
  That, living, we will be victorious,
  Or that, dying, our deaths shall be glorious.        20
 
  A breath of submission we breathe not:
  The sword that we ’ve drawn we will sheathe not:
Its scabbard is left where our martyrs are laid,
And the vengeance of ages has whetted its blade.
  Earth may hide, waves engulf, fire consume us;        25
  But they shall not to slavery doom us:
If they rule, it shall be o’er our ashes and graves:—
But we ’ve smote them already with fire on the waves,
  And new triumphs on land are before us;—
  To the charge!—Heaven’s banner is o’er us.        30
 
  This day—shall ye blush for its story;
  Or brighten your lives with its glory?—
Our women—oh, say, shall they shriek in despair,
Or embrace us from conquest, with wreaths in their hair?
  Accursed may his memory blacken,        35
  If a coward there be that would slacken
Till we ’ve trampled the turban, and shown ourselves worth
Being sprung from and named for, the godlike of earth.
  Strike home!—and the world shall revere us
  As heroes descended from heroes.        40
 
  Old Greece lightens up with emotion!
  Her inlands, her isles of the ocean,
Fanes rebuilt, and fair towns, shall with jubilee ring,
And the Nine shall new hallow their Helicon’s spring.
  Our hearts shall be kindled in gladness,        45
  That were cold, and extinguished in sadness;
Whilst our maidens shall dance with their white waving arms,
Singing joy to the brave that delivered their charms,—
  When the blood of yon Mussulman cravens
  Shall have crimsoned the beaks of our ravens!        50
 
 
CONTENTS · BOOK CONTENTS · BIBLIOGRAPHIC RECORD
  PREVIOUSNEXT  
 
Loading
Click here to shop the Bartleby Bookstore.

Shakespeare · Bible · Strunk · Anatomy · Nonfiction · Quotations · Reference · Fiction · Poetry
© 1993–2014 Bartleby.com · [Top 150] · Subjects · Titles · Authors