The Athenians’ Song

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The Athenians’ Song
by Viktor Rydberg, translated by Anna Krook
The Athenians’ Song has been translated from the Swedish original by Anna Krook, and published in Songs of the North, printed in Helsinki, Finland, 1926.

Splendid is death, when courageous, the first in battle, thou fallest,
Fallest in war for thy land, dying for city and home.
Therefore, with fiery mind, arise to fight for thy country,
Hasten to yield up thy life, gladly, for races to come!
Forward, forward now, boys, in close and invincible columns!
Never a feeling of fright, never a thought of retreat!

Shame and stigma fall on the host when, in front of the forces,
Old men, ahead of the young, combat and bleed unto death.
This behoves, above all, a youth while still he is wearing
Wreaths on the curls of his head, sweet-scented flowers of spring.
Handsome to women, stately to men, he may seem in his life-time;
Handsomer is he in death, fall’n in the thick of the fray.

This is a translation and has a separate copyright status from the original text. The license for the translation applies to this edition only.
Original:
This work published before January 1, 1923 is in the public domain worldwide because the author died at least 100 years ago.
 
Translation:
This work published before January 1, 1923 is in the public domain worldwide because the author died at least 100 years ago.