Cavafy’s “Thermopylae”

Since it appears to be poetry day and since Azra has posted a review of Cartledge’s Thermopylae, I’ve decided to mesh the two. Translated by Edmund Keeley & Philip Sherrard:

Honor to those who in the life they lead
define and guard a Thermopylae.
Never betraying what is right,
consistent and just in all they do
but showing pity also, and compassion;
generous when they’re rich, and when they’re poor,
still generous in small ways,
still helping as much as they can;
always speaking the truth,
yet without hating those who lie.
And even more honor is due to them
when they foresee (as many do foresee)
that Ephialtis will turn up in the end,
that the Medes will break through after all.