Robert Browning

(1812-1889 / London / England)

The Lost Leader


I.

Just for a handful of silver he left us,
Just for a riband to stick in his coat---
Found the one gift of which fortune bereft us,
Lost all the others she lets us devote;
They, with the gold to give, doled him out silver,
So much was theirs who so little allowed:
How all our copper had gone for his service!
Rags---were they purple, his heart had been proud!
We that had loved him so, followed him, honoured him,
Lived in his mild and magnificent eye,
Learned his great language, caught his clear accents,
Made him our pattern to live and to die!
Shakespeare was of us, Milton was for us,
Burns, Shelley, were with us,---they watch from their graves!
He alone breaks from the van and the free-men,
---He alone sinks to the rear and the slaves!

II.

We shall march prospering,---not thro' his presence;
Songs may inspirit us,---not from his lyre;
Deeds will be done,---while he boasts his quiescence,
Still bidding crouch whom the rest bade aspire:
Blot out his name, then, record one lost soul more,
One task more declined, one more foot-path untrod,
One more devils'-triumph and sorrow for angels,
One wrong more to man, one more insult to God!
Life's night begins: let him never come back to us!
There would be doubt, hesitation and pain,
Forced praise on our part---the glimmer of twilight,
Never glad confident morning again!
Best fight on well, for we taught him---strike gallantly,
Menace our heart ere we master his own;
Then let him receive the new knowledge and wait us,
Pardoned in heaven, the first by the throne!

Submitted: Sunday, May 13, 2001

Do you like this poem?
1 person liked.
0 person did not like.

Read poems about / on: silver, purple, lost, alone, sorrow, heaven, pain, heart, god, night, angel

Read this poem in other languages

This poem has not been translated into any other language yet.

I would like to translate this poem »

word flags

What do you think this poem is about?

Comments about this poem (The Lost Leader by Robert Browning )

Enter the verification code :

There is no comment submitted by members..

Trending Poets

Trending Poems

  1. Still I Rise, Maya Angelou
  2. The Road Not Taken, Robert Frost
  3. Fire and Ice, Robert Frost
  4. If, Rudyard Kipling
  5. Alone, Edgar Allan Poe
  6. If You Forget Me, Pablo Neruda
  7. Phenomenal Woman, Maya Angelou
  8. I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings, Maya Angelou
  9. Dreams, Langston Hughes
  10. I, Too, Langston Hughes

Poem of the Day

poet Richard Lovelace

Tell me not (Sweet) I am unkind,
That from the nunnery
Of thy chaste breast and quiet mind
To war and arms I fly.

True, a new mistress now I chase,
...... Read complete »

   

New Poems

  1. In a Gallery of Birds, Salvatore Ala
  2. Passenger, Georgina WilksWiffen
  3. I Raise A Toast To The Rising Sun, Rajesh Thankappan
  4. I Am An Indian English Poetess, You Call.., Bijay Kant Dubey
  5. A Month of Happiness, Robert Bly
  6. My Garden At Night, Alexander Johnson
  7. You're Magic, Michael McParland
  8. Why Not Stand Up?, RoseAnn V. Shawiak
  9. Why Not Stand Up, RoseAnn V. Shawiak
  10. Unruly Wind, Ozgur Ircan
[Hata Bildir]