The Battle of Life

Charles Harpur

        NEVER give up, though life be a battle
Wherein true men may fail, and true causes be sold;
        Yet, on the whole, however may rattle
        The thunders of chance, scaring cowards like cattle—
Clear victory’s always the bride of the bold.

        Armed in your right-though friendship deny you,
And love fall away when the storm’s at the worst,
        Count not your loss, Was destined to try you—
        Bear the brunt like a man, and your deeds shall ally you
To natures more noble and true than the first.

        Rail not at Fate: if rightly you scan her,
There’s none loves more strongly the heart that endures:
        On, in the hero’s calm resolute manner,
        Still bear aloft your hope’s long-trusted banner,
And the day, if you do but live through it, is yours.

        Be this your faith; and if killing strokes clatter
On your harness where true men before you have died,
        Fight on, let your life-blood be poured out like water—
        Fight on, make at least a brave end of the matter,
Brave end of the struggle if nothing beside.

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