Better To Die

Better to die, where gallant men are dying,
Than to live on with them that basely fly;
Better to fall, the soulless Fates defying,
Than unassailed to wander vainly, trying
To turn one's face from an accusing sky!

Days matter not, nor years to the undaunted;
To live is nothing, -- but to nobly live!
The poorest visions of the honor-haunted
Are better worth than pleasure-masks enchanted,
And they win life who life for others give.

The planets in their watchful course behold them --
To live is nothing, -- but to nobly live! --
For though the Earth with mother-hands remold them,
Though Ocean in his billowy arms enfold them,
They are as gods, who life to others give!

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