Epaminondas

Epaminondas

A Poem by Allan Eddings
"

First attempt at immortalizing this titan; first attempt at poetry as well.

"

My trembling hand by Melpomene is guided,

Her crown of cypress, and cudgel red,

Compel not joyful tunes to part my lips.

 

Would that I had the words to give breath to my thoughts,

Gone is the life that was the light,

Gone is the hope that was the guide.

 

Bereft of genius, barren now our world,

You who outshone the brightest of Jovian stars,

Bereft of love, barren now our souls,

You who loved no other for you loved too much your duty.

 

How low was your love when you found her?

A stone had been cast into her midst,

And so sown her men did fight,

And cut and tear at her dress.

 

But broken now the power of the indefatigable old order,

By your hand alone,

Crumbled now the glories of the golden city and its harbour,

No more shall they cast eyes upon it and fall even more in love.

 

But Alas! Alas! You have left us too soon,

Unfinished your dream, broken now by your morality,

So upon this field, shall forever lie that word,

Which from your lips alone did not lack sincerity,

Upon this field shall lay that word,

Which in your deeds it did not find itself wonting.

© 2012 Allan Eddings


Author's Note

Allan Eddings
I thought seeing as this seems to be my most popular piece, and I have a had a few messages asking for explanations of the classical themes and events referred to I would include them here.

Epaminondas was a Theban general and statesman of the 4th century BCE, referred to by Cicero as being "the first man of Greece." Despite the high acclaim that he was held in ancient times, he has become almost entirely - and unworthily - forgotten today.

The first stanza is a traditional invocation of the Muses found at the beginning of most Odes. Melpomene is the Muse of Tragedy and is depicted wearing a crown of Cypress and with a bloody cudgel.

The second and third stanzas obviously attempt to communicate my admiration for Epaminondas and extol the virtues which characterised his life and career.

The fourth stanza refers to two things: firstly the position of Thebes as being under the yoke of Lacedaemonian (Spartan) rule at the beginning of Epaminondas career; secondly it references the foundation, or rather one of, myth of Thebes. Wherein the teeth of a dragon sown in the ground became mighty men, and Cadmus the semi-mythic king of Thebes, threw a stone into their midst causing them to fight. This also refers to the general state of the Theban nobility at Epaminondas' time, whose name Spartoi means 'Sown Men.'

The fifth stanza refers to Epaminondas over throw of Lacedaemonian power, the traditional power "indefatigable old order" in Greece at the time. As well as his asserting of Thebes as the new power in Greece over the other power in Greece, Athens, "the golden city." The last line of this stanza is a homage to Perikles' funeral oration.

The final stanza records Epaminondas failure, his victory at the Battle of Mantinea at the cost of his own life. The dream I refer to is my own Romantic take on the life of Epaminondas. While the great heroes of Lacedaemon and Athens fought for their city state first and for most, they fought for empire. Whereas I would like to believe, and his actions certain lend credibility to such a view, that Epaminondas fought for a united Greece. Thus the word which lies dead upon that field next to him, is Hellas, a dream which would not be realised until the 19th century.

I hope that brief explanation helps people reading the poem and that it doesn't detract from it either. Thank you for taking the time to read this my first poem, and my favourite.

A.E.

Original note: "Helpful comments and suggestions welcome, but be nice - first attempt at poetry so most likely not any good."

My Review

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Featured Review

A wonderful poem and love the tale in it. The history you added is much appreciated. It helps the reader have a much better understanding of what's happening in your poem, thus it enhances the depth of your poem quite a bit. I think you did a wonderful job on this and I really enjoyed it a lot.

Thanks for the review you did for me!


Posted 9 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.




Reviews

Dear Allan Eddings,

I am so very jealous of your writing talent. I could only dream to ever write something this beautiful. A wondeful story in a wondeful poem. I find it so beautiful, really have no words to express my emotions. Just...breathtaking!

Regards from a kind but jealous heart ;)

Posted 9 Years Ago


I feel like I could compare this with poetry studied in literature classes. This piece has depth. You bring forth your romanticized version of the story of a historical figure, and in doing so you bring art to a piece of history. I enjoyed these piece thoroughly, and though this is your first attempt at a poem (which frankly, is hard to believe because it's so impeccable), you have done a wonderful job. I could not tell that it was your first if you hadn't stated it above! Brilliant work!

~Adora
xoxo

Posted 9 Years Ago


Its an truly excellent piece of work! I like how you based it on a story. :)

I also found it interesting to read as it gave me a bit of a history lesson. :D You are a great writer!

Posted 9 Years Ago


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AK
Brilliant poem! I really liked the reference Melpomene-the Muse of tragedy. Thank you for the author's note; it was really very helpful in understanding the poem to its fullest. Keep writing!

Posted 9 Years Ago


Very impressive, but I fear that I will have to do some substantial background reading to start to understand and appreciate the full meaning of your poem. It reminds me of the type of poem we had to study at school in the 1960's, powerful, thought provoking, slightly depressing but very cleverly assembled to allow the reader to make up his own mind. Great work, thanks.

Posted 9 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

A wonderful poem and love the tale in it. The history you added is much appreciated. It helps the reader have a much better understanding of what's happening in your poem, thus it enhances the depth of your poem quite a bit. I think you did a wonderful job on this and I really enjoyed it a lot.

Thanks for the review you did for me!


Posted 9 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

A poem as a history lesson , unique and so informative and I like that you added historical context.

Posted 9 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

On the contrary, this piece was OUTSTANDING, and VERY DETAILED as the imagery was flowing. The historical events laid out, and with your own take.... :)

Posted 9 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

A great piece, not only does it hold an informational historical aspect but the words and overall flow are both really nice. I can never tell if we should learn from the ancient Greeks' sense of duty or if we should laugh at it for being so utter and complete that their lives could simply pass them by. I realize this is an old piece, but if it was your first attempt at poetry that was definitely on the right track.

Posted 9 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

The classical feel of this is beyond my ability i tip the hat to you sir and say I AM HUMBLED BY IT

Posted 10 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.


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Added on September 19, 2010
Last Updated on January 25, 2012
Tags: Epaminondas, poem, greece, ancient, hellas, thebes

Author

Allan Eddings
Allan Eddings

Fremantle, Western Australia, Australia



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A noble man compares and estimates himself by an idea which is higher than himself; and a mean man, by one lower than himself. The one produces aspiration; the other ambition, which is the way in whic.. more..

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