For The Man Who Fails


The world is a snob, and the man who wins
  Is the chap for its money's worth:
And the lust for success causes half of the sins
  That are cursing this brave old earth.
For it 's fine to go up, and the world's applause
  Is sweet to the mortal ear;
But the man who fails in a noble cause
  Is a hero that 's no less dear.

'T is true enough that the laurel crown
  Twines but for the victor's brow;
For many a hero has lain him down
  With naught but the cypress bough.
There are gallant men in the losing fight,
  And as gallant deeds are done
As ever graced the captured height
  Or the battle grandly won.

We sit at life's board with our nerves highstrung,
  And we play for the stake of Fame,
And our odes are sung and our banners hung
  For the man who wins the game.
But I have a song of another kind
  Than breathes in these fame-wrought gales,—
An ode to the noble heart and mind
  Of the gallant man who fails!

The man who is strong to fight his fight,
  And whose will no front can daunt,
If the truth be truth and the right be right,
  Is the man that the ages want.
Tho' he fail and die in grim defeat,
  Yet he has not fled the strife,
And the house of Earth will seem more sweet
  For the perfume of his life.

This work was published before January 1, 1925, and is in the public domain worldwide because the author died at least 100 years ago.