'go tell it' (Fr 1584) 

By Emily Dickinson (1830 – 1886)

To whom - is specified -

Not murmur - not endearment -

But simply - we - obeyed -

Obeyed - a Lure - a Longing?

Oh Nature - none of this -

To Law - said sweet Thermopylae

I give my dying Kiss -



Fr 1584 alludes to the inscribed epitaph — the lines attributed to the poet Simonides — laid on the burial mound, and spot of the final deaths, of the Spartan hoplites who fought the Persians at the pass of Thermopylae (Herodotus, 288): 


Ὦ ξεῖν', ἀγγέλλειν Λακεδαιμονίοις ὅτι τῇδε

κείμεθα, τοῖς κείνων ῥήμασι πειθόμενοι.


“Go tell the Spartans, stranger passing by,
That here, obedient to their law, we lie.”


Pato Bosich 

the return of the hero 


Oil paint, silver leaf, adhesive, on printed paper

From the series 'The Dying Pythia' 



©2020 Pericles at Play. Homepage paintings by Annabel Dover