Age after age the fruit of knowledge falls
To ashes on men’s lips;
Love fails, faith sickens, like a dying tree
Life sheds its dreams that no new spring recalls;
The longed-for ships
Come empty home or founder on the deep,
And eyes first lose their tears and then their sleep.
So weary a world it lies, forlorn of day,
And yet not wholly dark,
Since evermore some soul that missed the mark
Calls back to those agrope
In the mad maze of hope,
“Courage, my brothers—I have found the way!”
The day is lost? What then?
What though the straggling rear-guard of the fight
Be whelmed in fear and night,
And the flying scouts proclaim
That death has gripped the van—
Ever the heart of man
Cheers on the hearts of men!
“It hurts not!” dying cried the Roman wife;
And one by one
The leaders in the strife
Fall on the blade of failure and exclaim:
“The day is won!