by Oscar Fay Adams
Where is the spirit of striving that once was so strong in my heart?
And where is the lofty devotion that attended my steps at the start?
I was so full of my purpose and never gave way to a doubt,
Never looked forward to failure, whatever dark clouds were about,
Always believed in hard fighting, and never once trusted to luck,
Put my whole soul in my doing, and honest each blow that I struck.
What is the guerdon of labor, of honesty what the reward?
Only a pittance at most, and simplicity conquered by fraud.
Where is the joy of believing when faith is met by a sneer?
Why should we look to the future expecting the skies to be clear?
Always the strongest are prospered: why may it not be so again,
If there's a heaven hereafter reserved for the children of men?
Might has the best of us here, and may it not be so beyond?
I who am vanquished in battle have little to do but despond.
Never for me will the prospect be brightened again by a hope;
I have grown old in the conflict, and care not with evil to cope.
Beaten am I in the struggle, the doom of the conquered is mine;
Darkness and clouds are about me, the morrow I may not divine.
Now I await the dread moment when I shall have done with it all,
When the long strife shall be ended, and I turn my face to the wall.
Last updated February 21, 2018