"Da nobis veniara, Poeta magne; A te, non tua, possurans furari."
LOST, did they say of it, lost for one failure ? Lost, that a leader, a banner went down ?
Nay, not always things most that prevail here Live most hereafter with longest renown.
Oh, how we loved it, would live for it, die for it, Give it our best,—life, blood, treasure, and all ! Is it our best thus to sit here and sigh for it, Stir to no summons, awake to no call ?
Holiest of causes, how grand then it seemed to us : Little we said, but light shone in, our eyes : Little we said, but a great hope then beamed to us, Clouds, were there any, ne'er darkened our skies.
So we marched onward, God with us advancing, Youth swelling our legions, hope mocking despair ; He at our head with his bright eye far-glancing, Mountains seemed valleys, we trod upon air.
On, on we sped, we the heirs of the ages, Born to set right old oppression and wrong, Our day-dreams the visions of prophets and sages, Their names on our banners, their watchwords our song.
On, on we sped, here some soul-killing slavery, There trampling behind us some hated Bastille : How the world laughed to be free of such knavery! How the rogues writhed as we trod them to heel !
What, then, has happened ? We knew we had haters, Knew some were weak in our motley array; Failure, 'twas only to purge away traitors ; Danger, to drive the time-server away.
Nothing has happened. Say not, "God is altered, Freedom and justice no longer the same ;" Nay, comrades and brothers, 'tis we who have faltered, Just for one failure to fling up the game.
Just for a panic ! We drove all before us ; Then came there a slackness, a pause in the fight, And some one cried, "Back !" and the boy-troops in chorus Cried, "Back, all is over !" and turned them to flight.
Pick up the banner, then; on to the front there !
You, you, and you! What, ye scruple to die ? . Think how he fought for us, bearing the brunt there, Think how when dying he pointed on high! God all his trust, not in numbers, majorities,— " Count not the heads, so the hearts be but strong : Men work with many, but God with minorities ; Soldiers of Gideon were lost in a throng."
Only a remnant ! Yet shoulder to shoulder Close up, truer metal by suffering annealed; Less shouting, less gold-braid, but sterner and older, Resolved there to conquer, or the on the field !
Pick up the banner, nor think yet of resting ; Time then to rest when the struggle is done ; When the brow shall bear garlands, whose bosom bore testing, And the last shall be first, and the lost shall be won.
A. G. B.