Hymn to Aristogeiton and Harmodius
Translation from the Greek.*
Wreathed in myrtle, my sword I'll conceal
Like those champions devoted and brave,
When they plunged in the tyrant their steel,
And to Athens deliverance gave.
Beloved heroes! your deathless souls roam
In the joy breathing isles of the blest;
Where the mighty of old have their home -
Where Achilles and Diomed rest.
In fresh myrtle my blade I'll entwine,
Like Harmodious, the gallant and good,
When he made at the tutelar shrine
A libation of Tyranny's blood.
Ye deliverers of Athens from shame!
Ye avengers of Liberty's wrongs!
Endless ages shall cherish your fame
Embalmed in their echoing songs!
= Shelley Lynn Johnson
*Harmodius and Aristogiton d. c.514 B.C., Athenian tyrannicides.
Provoked by a personal quarrel, the two friends planned to assassinate Hipparchus and his brother,
the tyrant Hippias. The plans miscarried; Hipparchus was killed, but Hippias was not hurt.
Harmodius was killed on the spot, and Aristogiton was executed. In spite of their mixed motives,
they were soon made heroes of Athens and were given public recognition after the expulsion (510 B.C.)
of Hippias. Two public statues, executed by Antenor, were erected, and coins were struck
with their image.