And leave a dead unprofitable name—
Finds comfort in himself and in his cause;
And, while the mortal mist is gathering, draws
His breath in confidence of Heaven’s applause:
This is the happy Warrior; this is he
That every Man in arms should wish to be.
[Notes: Turns his necessity to glorious gain. Turns the necessity which lies on him of fellowship with pain, and fear, and bloodshed, into glorious gain.
More skilful in self knowledge, even more pure, as tempted more. “His self-knowledge and his purity are all the greater because of the temptations he has had to withstand.”
Whose law is reason = whose every action is obedient to reason.
In himself possess his own desire. According to Aristotle, virtuous activity is the highest reward the good man can attain; virtue has no end beyond action; according to the modern proverb, “Virtue is its own reward.”
More brave for this, that he hath much to love. Here also Wordsworth follows Aristotle in his description of the virtue of manliness. The good man, according to Aristotle, is most brave of all in encountering “the awful moment of great issues,” in that he has the most to lose by death.
Not content that former worth stand fast. Not content to rest on the foundation of accomplished good and worthy deeds, solid though it be.
Finds comfort in himself. Compare: “In himself possess his own desire.”]
* * * * *
He was the first great English captain, who showed what English soldiers were, and what they could do against Frenchmen, and against all the world. He was the first English Prince who showed what it was to be a true gentleman. He was the first, but he was not the last. We have seen how, when he died, Englishmen thought that all their hopes had died with him. But we know that it was not so; we know that the life of a great nation is not bound up in the life of a single man; we know that the valour and the courtesy and the chivalry of England are not buried in the grave of the Plantagenet Prince. It needs only a glance round the country, to see that the high character of an English gentleman, of which the Black Prince was the noble pattern, is still to be found everywhere; and has since his time been spreading itself more and more through classes, which in his time seemed incapable of reaching it. It needs only a glance down the names of our own Cathedral (of Canterbury); and the tablets on the walls, with their tattered flags, will tell you in a moment that he, as he lies up there aloft, with his head resting on his helmet, and his spurs on his feet, is but the first of a long line of English heroes—that the brave men who fought at Sobraon and Feroozeshah are the true descendants of those who fought at Cressy and Poitiers.