by Mark Kodama
Now, as said before, Croesus had two sons.
Atys, the eldest son, the crown prince,
Was an offspring second to none
The model of courage and intelligence
Greatness, generosity and eloquence.
His second son, however, was unfit
A deaf mute, a half wit.
Morpheus visited the king in a dream
Warning Atys was to be killed by iron blade.
King Croesus awoke with a start and scream.
After his dream, all iron weapons he forbade
And his son’s position in the army stayed.
He prohibited Atys from hunting game
And sporting contests all the same.
One day, denizens from the mountain of Zeus,
Petitioned the crown prince Atys to engage
To save them from a wild boar on the loose.
No hero could stop the beast in its rage.
Atys promised to end the boar’s rampage.
Atys was by iron spear, accidentally killed
And thus King Croesus’s dream was fulfilled.
Across the desert sand, Cyrus the Great
Was building his own spear-won empire
It was decided by the hand of fate
That Cyrus and is army should acquire
By siege engine, war horse, sword and fire
The storied cities of the Middle East
Land of Babylon and the caravans east.
Croesus feared for the freedom of his own land.
The king met with his closest advisors
To initiate an action plan
The War Council sent an ambassador
To the Delphic oracle to decipher
What defensive measures they should take
To stop the Persian King, Cyrus the Great.
So the Lydians went to Mount Parnassus
To consult the oracle at Delphi
They inquired if they attacked Cyrus
Would the venture be fated in disaster – would they die?
To which the Priestess did reply,
Uttering in a trance in the great hall:
“A mighty empire will fall.”
So Croesus led his veteran Army,
Across the desert sands to Syria
To meet Cyrus the Great and his Army
At the Cappadocian town of Pteria
The Lydian army was superior.
Croesus had the finest cavalry
And a professional hoplite infantry.
But wily Cyrus knew horses feared camels
So he attacked King Croesus’s horsemen
With his swift moving humped backed animals,
Causing the horses to panic and run.
The cavaliers fought as infantryman
And these brave men were defeated in the fight
And slain in great numbers in their flight.
King Cyrus followed Croesus to Lydia
And besieged King Croesus in Sardis
And captured his capital in 14 days,
By climbing by goat path up the precipice
And impossibly capturing his fortress.
And the unassailable mountain town
Was seized and razed to the ground.
Hapless Croesus was bound to a wood post
And set atop a sacrificial pyre.
King Cyrus said his prisoner would roast
The wood from the pyre was set afire.
Croesus’s circumstances seemed dire
He thought about his misfortune, his dead son,
He cried aloud: “Solon, Solon and Solon.”
Cyrus asked Croesus what was his lament.
When Croesus told Cyrus about Solon
And all that his meeting had meant.
Cyrus the Great’s heart was won.
He ordered the execution undone.
But the fire was now a blaze
And could not be stayed.
So Croesus, in desperation, lifted his eyes to sky
And called to the sun god for deliverance
For his infinite mercy he did apply
To save himself from ignominious deaths,
King Croesus said through parched lips.
“If you ever enjoyed one of my fatted cows,
Then please save me now.”
From nowhere, great nimbus storm clouds appeared
And then rain water began to pour down,
And the seemingly fatal fire cleared.
And now that the fire was drowned,
Cyrus made Croesus adviser to the crown
Croesus’s first advice as first counsel to Cyrus
Was to have his soldiers stop looting Sardis.
Now, that the city belonged to Cyrus
All the possessions of the city were his.
Cyrus the Great in a great battle was slain
By Scythian horsemen on the Russian plain.
A dictator threw Aesop, the fabler and seer,
Off a cliff for telling him what he needed to hear.
Solon returned to Athens where he lived in prosperity
And died peacefully of old age, very happily,
Much admired by his friends, family and posterity.