Cicely Fox Smith
Empire-Makers - Poem by Cicely Fox Smith
Heavy the yoke of Empire: hard its ways
For weakling feet to know;
Filled with fierce war and danger all our days,
Temptation and sore woe.
Haply we turn from noble ways that tire,
More selfish scenes to scan;
Haply we grope for glory in the mire;
Else were we more than man.
Not ours to turn from danger's face away,
Nor e'er for rest to long;
Schooled to await our death from day to day
With steadfast hearts and strong.
By ways before untrod blindfold we go,
Unknowing where to turn;
Yet not unfruitful all our pain and woe;
At every step, we learn.
Oh, well for you whose lives are set and plann'd,
Hedged in on every side:
Yet, did you stand as we, in unknown land,
On trackless wastes and wide,
And seek to find which pathway leads to fame,
And which to deepest hell,
And win for sin applause, for virtue blame,
Say, would ye know so well?
But are your lives the happier, you who dwell
In peaceful paths apart,
Striving the structure of your mind to tell,
Searching your own sad heart:
Or ours, - who hear in accents sweet and clear
The Voices call our name
And win for guerdon but an unknown bier,
Of haply, deathless fame?
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