by C.P. Cavafy

Honour to those who in their lives
are committed and guard their Thermopylae.
Never stirring from duty;
just and upright in all their deeds,
but with pity and compassion too;
generous whenever they are rich, and when
they are poor, again a little generous,
again helping as much as they are able;
always speaking the truth,
but without rancour for those who lie

And they merit greater honour
when they foresee (and many do foresee)
that Ephialtes will finally appear,
and in the end the Medes will go through

Translated by Rae Dalvan