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Collected Poems

Lines For a Rebel

page 66

Lines For a Rebel

It is no fault in us that we should grieve
for irremediable wrong and mortal woe:
the death of sons, lost youth, rain-flattened crops,
tempest and drought, all that the gods bestow.

For such, take comfort: call to mind the dead
whom we have loved, how bravely they drew breath,
and with such splendour loved and sang that still
they live in us, and give the lie to death.

But those black wrongs that rogues and fools contrive
for our disquiet, to twist us to their will—
suffer them if you must, but do not grieve:
not tears, but blows, best heal the tyrant ill.

Soon, soon we shed this troubled garment of earth:
let us remember, you and I, how strong,
how valiant were the dead: let us put on
such pride as theirs, and suffer no man's wrong.