In the Pass of classic Thermopylae, there is a monumental pillar reared by the decree of the Amphictyonic Council, to the memory of Leonidas and his devoted three hundred. It bears an inscription, written by the poet of the time, in a style of true Lacedemonian simplicity, and yet it is so tender and touching in its tone, and so lofty in its sentiment, that it appears to me to be sublime:The tongue that spoke these words has long been silent in the grave, but they are forever true. The mother State, conservative in all her history, pondered her steps long and well. What she ordered was done in the plain path of duty, when all other resource had departed. But that duty once ascertained, was performed with a tenacious determination almost without a parallel. In this transitory life, the most precious things are the spiritual forces—the invisible, but immortal, powers that mould men's lives. Look about you, in your beautiful Capital City, putting on anew the garniture of spring. Consider the swift passing away of the material objects about us. A century or two, and where are theOh stranger! tell it to the Lacedemonians,Let the stranger, whoever he may be, that visits this sacred spot, go and proclaim it to all the world that these brave men lie here in obedience to the laws of North Carolina.
That we lie here in obedience to their laws.
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