The Unconquered Air, and Other Poems (1912)/Every Night at Marathon

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The Unconquered Air, and Other Poems by Florence Earle Coates
Every Night at Marathon

EVERY NIGHT AT MARATHON

"In their plains the neighing of horses is heard nightly, and men are seen fighting; and those who purposely come as hearers or spectators into these plains suffer for their curiosity; but such as are accidentally witnesses of these prodigies are not injured by the anger of the dæmons. The Marathonians highly honor those that have fallen in battle and give them the appellation of heroes."—Pausanias.

Every night at Marathon
 (Shepherd boy, beware!)—
Every night at Marathon
 Sounds are in the air:
Ghostly sounds, the heart dismaying,
As of maddened horses neighing,
 Over all the plain.


Every night at Marathon
 (Boy, the vision fly!)—
Every night at Marathon,
 'Neath a darkened sky,
Form with form in shadow blending,
Warrior-shapes are seen contending
 As in conflict vain.


These are they at Marathon
 (Mark, O shepherd-lad!)
Who, for freedom, to the gods
 Offered all they had;
Who in danger, Death defying,
Triumphed over Fate in dying,
 For our gain—our gain!


Dæmons sentinel the field;
 Venture thou not near,—
Neither seek those forms to view,
 Nor those sounds to hear.
This enough for thee: they perish
Never!—whom the high gods cherish
 One with life remain.