None stoop to lift up those who fall;
A thousand leap for a vacant place,
Thrust weaker thousands to the wall,
And trample many an upturned face!
But I, however the fight may go,
Have turned my back on the sordid fray,
To face the tranquil sunset-glow,
And hope for the dawn of a better day.
Stand forth, my soul, and take thine own!
Though all should blame thee, have no fear!
Self-poised and steadfast, dare alone
Thy self-elected course to steer.
Before thee lies the open sea;
Beyond it is the wished-for shore;
The route that seemeth best to thee
Select, and hesitate no more!
For he who lives the timorous slave
Of social plaudits or disdain,
Drags feebly to a nameless grave
A craven’s ever-lengthening chain.
Are thy plans noble, just, and fair?
Pursue them bravely to the end,
Nor pause to question or to care
What says thy foe, or what thy friend.
Succeed, and thou shalt surely find
That those who longed to see thee fail,
And, lingering hopelessly behind,
Spat venom on thine upward trail,
Shall run to reach thee on thy path,
To grasp thy hand and say “’Twas well”;
Or, distant, gnaw their lips in wrath,
Their envious hearts a living hell.
Forever, flint-like, set thy face
Against the loss of self-control;
Compel the world to keep its place;
Be thou the captain of thy soul!
You thought me sunk in lethargy, too deeply drugged
To notice how your armored fleets kept creeping o’er the deep,
Too indolent to organize, too feeble to resist,
Too timid to return the blow of Europe’s mailed fist;
And Asia’s conquest seemed to you a matter of such ease
That all your kings knew perfectly the part which each would seize.
Of such a “sluggish, inert mass” why should you be afraid?
You wanted ports and provinces for purposes of trade,
And monster “spheres of influence”, whose wealth could be controlled
And plundered by your Governments to fill their vaults with gold;
Hence, since it seemed so probable that none of us would fight,
Why should you even hesitate to prove that Might makes Right?
And yet perhaps it had been well, before you formed
To study Asia’s history from Persia to Japan;
For though the sleeping Orient, like grain before the blast,
May bow its head, it rights itself when once the storm is past.
How often has the Occident invaded our domains
And boasted of its victories! Yet of them what remains?
Seems India exceptional? Fools, judge not by a day!
The horologe of centuries moves slowly in Cathay.
The brilliant son of Macedon saw, crushed and pale with fear,
The vanquished East from Babylon to Egypt and Cashmere;