In strength there ever dwells of right1
Some quality of noble name,2
Which through base uses keeps alight3
A remnant of celestial flame,4
And cannot leave him wholly vile5
Within whose breast it takes abode,6
Since this one spot, this little isle,7
Must still retain the stamp of God.8
In Him who, not of kings the heir,9
Carves out a crown by kingly work,10
Must needs be that some virtue rare,11
Some godlike moral grace, doth lurk.12
This, shining forth, shall colour lend13
To wrong, or questionable act,14
Till the world dreams a righteous end15
Where only sophists can defend,16
And Faith becomes the slave of Fact.17
Yet is it an effeminate thing,18
A woman-weakness, still to crave19
For works that make the world to ring,20
Or setting up some idol-king21
For violence pronounce him brave.22
For stronger far, and in their strength23
More honourably due to fame,24
Are they who through the stormy length25
Of combat kept a flawless name ;26
Who, reddened to the brows with strife,27
Have nourished hearts not cruel still ;28
Men who, though widely taking life,29
Shed blood for conscience’ sake, not will :30
Who sheathed the sword when peace might be,31
And, bravely glad, confessed it gain ;32
In whose severe sublimity33
Envy detects no fatal stain ;34
Men of a perfect mould ; and such,35
Who knew themselves and knew their time,36
We cannot honour over-much37
In story or in rhyme.38
Strong is the statesman who can wield39
A nation to his single will,40
Teach its blind passions how to yield,41
And lordly destinies fulfil ;42
Who to one point, whate’er befall,43
Makes every shapely purpose bend,44
Becoming all things unto all,45
So he may gain an end.46
Yet greater oft is ill success47
Later in time they reap applause48
Whom factions could not ban nor bless ;49
Found brave enough to lose a cause ;50
Who, ’mid a grovelling race and prone,51
Walked honestly erect and proud,52
Who dared not lie to gain a throne,53
Nor struck their colours to the crowd.54
Such shall not lack renown till when55
Cometh an iron age at last,56
Sneering at all that makes us men,57
Cursed with contemnings of the Past ;58
Who, reaping where they have not sown,59
Wax selfish in their base degree ;60
Who think the breath they breathe their own,61
And slur the light by which they see.62
This is the noblest strength to seek,63
And fadeless still the crown remains,64
Which once He wore who, strongly weak,65
On Calvary was wrung with pains.66
To suffer, and without complaint,67
Makes grandeur more divine than all ;68
This to high places lifts the faint ;69
This is the hero’s coronal.70
To wither in a dark disgrace71
Which half a word might wipe away,72
And clothed with calumny to face73
Contempt and hatred day by day,74
Because the half-word that would change75
Our destiny were best unsaid76
O wide and elevated range77
Of hearts to worthy interests wed !78
So blest the fame-regardless thought,79
Which, to divine attractions true,80
Feels that the life which hath been taught81
To suffer hath been taught to do !82