The Unconquered Air, and Other Poems (1912)/Better to Die

For other versions of this work, see Better to Die.


Better to die, where gallant men are dying,
Than to live on with them that basely fly:
Better to fall, the soulless Fates defying,
Than unassailed to wander vainly, trying
To turn one’s face from an accusing sky!

Days matter not, nor years to the undaunted;
To live is nothing,—but to nobly live!
The poorest visions of the honour-haunted
More worth than doubtful pleasure-masks enchanted,
They win new life who life for others give.

The planets in their watchful course behold them—
To live is nothing,—but to nobly live!—
For though the Earth with mother-hands remold them,
Though Ocean in his billowy arms enfold them,
They are as gods, who life to others give!