TELL me what boots to battle, when the end
Is foreseen failure? What, by heaven, I ask—
By bearded martyrs, and the holy cask
Of papal comfort, what can struggle lend
Of true nobility to those who bend
Constrainèd after all? ’Twere better bask
With resignation and a quiet flask
Than rush to strokes that heaven will surely send.
Methinks the base desire to change our stars
Is but the taint of old mortality,
And as the wavelet curls in every sea
The schoolboy bares his wounds and thinks him Mars.
Give me Petrarca and a pot of tea,
And carry thou thy honourable scars.