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Ballads and Lyrics of Socialism 1883-1908 . Nesbit, E. (Edith), 1858–1924.
page: 72

The Better Part

  • ’TIS weary treading every day
  • The same dull, dreary, uphill way,
  • While the desired and the divine
  • So fair and far above us shine—
  • As unattainable as dear
  • To us who grope and stumble here.
page: 73
  • ’Tis hard to hold our flag on high,
  • And never faint, until we die—
  • To spread our banner on a wind
  • Scented with garlands left behind:
  • To give up all life’s joy, that we
  • May humble banner‐bearers be.
  • ’Tis hard to sing, in faith, of light
  • Through endless seeming hours of night—
  • To tune the harp, the voice upraise
  • For Freedom’s sake, for Honour’s praise—
  • To sing of good that is, not seems
  • To sing of duties, not of dreams.
  • ’Tis hard to fix one’s sleepy eyes
  • On faint, faint streaks of new sunrise,
  • When all one’s being yearns to weep
  • Its tiredness out, and turn to sleep:
  • Sleep and forget, and cease to care
  • If sunrise be, if darkness were.
  • ’Tis weary fighting all one’s life
  • In one long, bitter, desperate strife,
  • The hydra‐headed, rampant wrong,
  • When one is fain of dance and song—
  • To smell the rose, and hear the fair
  • Soft wings of Pleasure in the air.
  • Yet would we choose the weary way,
  • The fighting, not the feasting day—
  • To wear the armour, not the flowers,
  • To sing of Truth while voice is ours;
  • Because good fight’s worst wounds are far
  • More dear than any pleasures are.