"Run, Pheidippides, run and race, reach Sparta for aid!
Persia has come, we are here, where is She?” Your command I obeyed,
Ran and raced: like stubble, some field which a fire runs through
Was the space between city and city; two days, two nights did I burn
Over the hills, under the dales, down pits and up peaks.
Into their midst I broke: breath served but for " Persia has come!
Persia bids Athens proffer slaves'-tribute, water and earth;
Razed to the ground is Eretria--but Athens, shall Athens sink,
Drop into dust and die--the flower of Hellas utterly die,
Die with the wide world spitting at Sparta, the stupid, the stander-by?
Answer me quick, what help, what hand do you stretch o'er destruction's
How--when? No care for my limbs!--there's lightning in all and some--
Fresh and fit your message to bear, once lips give it birth!"
O my Athens -- Sparta love thee? Did Sparta respond?
Every face of her leered in a furrow of envy, mistrust,
Malice,--each eye of her gave me its glitter of gratified hate!
Gravely they turned to take counsel, to cast for excuses. I stood
Quivering,--the limbs of me fretting as fire frets, an inch from dry
" Persia has come, Athens asks aid, and still they debate?
Thunder, thou Zeus! Athena, are Spartans a quarry beyond
Swing of thy spear? Phoibos and Artemis, clang them 'Ye must'!"
Unforeseeing one! Yes, he fought on the Marathon day:
So, when Persia was dust, all cried "To Acropolis!
Run, Pheidippides, one race more! The meed is thy due!
' Athens is saved, thank Pan,' go shout!” He flung down his shield,
Ran like fire once more: and the space 'twixt the Fennel-field
And Athens was stubble again, a field which a fire runs through,
Till in he broke: "Rejoice, we conquer!” Like wine thro' clay,
Joy in his blood bursting his heart, he died--the bliss!
So, to this day, when friend meets friend, the word of salute
Is still "Rejoice!” --his word which brought rejoicing indeed.
So is Pheidippides happy forever,--then noble strong man
Who could race like a god, bear the face of a god, whom a god loved
He saw the land saved he had helped to save, and was suffered to tell
Such tidings, yet never decline, but, gloriously as he began,
So to end gloriously--once to shout, thereafter be mute:
"Athens is saved!” --Pheidippides dies in the shout for his meed.
Pan - a goat-like, flute-playing Greek god who loved