Arthur Henry Adams
A Song of Failure
HERE is my hand to you, brother,
You of the ruck who have failed
I, too, am only another
Fighter who faltered and quailed.
Now with my courage for token
Here to grim Fate I give tithe;
I, too, am beaten and broken,
Lying, the swath of the scythe!
We to the conquerors' seeming
Crouch, an incongruous horde—
Fighters, enmeshed in their dreaming,
Dreamers who girl on the sword,
Weaklings with splendid ambitions,
Heroes who learnt to succumb,
Poets a-swoon in their visions,
Singers with ecstasy dumb.
Failed! So we cast off our burden,
Done with our doubts and our fears:
These we have won for our guerdon—
Pity and tears—women's tears!
You with your conquests unending
Dwell from a woman apart;
Only the humble and bending
Learn the low door to her heart.
We that lie dumb in your scorning
Made you the heroes you are,
Built you a road to the morning,
Taught you to reach for a star:
We have had sight of the glory,
Pointed it clear to the blind;
Yours is the conquerors' story,
Ours is the vision you find.
Here is no dread and no grieving;
Over us hurtles the fray,
Is yours a Heav'n worth achieving,
If it be stormed in a day?
Here is this world we must live in—
Little to lose or to gain;
More is it worth to have striven
Than in the end to attain.
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