George Meredith

(12 February 1828 – 18 May 1909 / Portsmouth, England)

The Labourer

For a Heracles in his fighting ire there is never the glory that
When ashen he lies and the poets arise to sing of the work he has
But to vision alive under shallows of sight, lo, the Labourer's
crown is Apollo's,
While stands he yet in his grime and sweat--to wrestle for fruits of
the Sun.

Can an enemy wither his cheer? Not you, ye fair yellow-flowering
Who join with your lords to jar the chords of a bosom heroic, and
'Tis the faltering friend, an inanimate land, may drag a great soul
to their Hades,
And plunge him far from a beam of star till he hears the deep bay of
the Dog.

Apparition is then of a monster-task, in a policy carving new
The winninger course than the rule of force, and the springs lured
to run in a stream:
He would bend tough oak, he would stiffen the reed, point Reason to
swallow the passions,
Bid Britons awake two steps to take where one is a trouble extreme!

Not the less is he nerved with the Labourer's resolute hope: that
by him shall be written,
To honour his race, this deed of grace, for the weak from the strong
made just:
That her sons over seas in a rally of praise may behold a thrice
vitalised Britain,
Ashine with the light of the doing of right: at the gates of the
Future in trust.

Submitted: Thursday, April 15, 2010

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