Or shall I say, Vain word, false thought,
Since prudence hath her martyrs too,
And Wisdom dictates not to do,
Till doing shall be not for nought.
Not ours to give or lose is life;
Will Nature, when her brave ones fall,
Remake her work? or songs recall
Death’s victim slain in useless strife?
That rivers flow into the sea
Is loss and waste, the foolish say,
Nor know that back they find their way,
Unseen, to where they wont to be.
Showers fall upon the hills, springs flow,
The river runneth still at hand,
Brave men are born into the land,
And whence the foolish do not know.
No! no vain voice did on me fall,
Peschiera, when thy bridge I crost,
‘’Tis better to have fought and lost,
Than never to have fought at all.’
Alteram Partem by Arthur Hugh Clough