What Of It Then

A poem by Madison Julius Cawein

I.

Well, what of it then, if your heart be weighed with the yoke
Of the world's neglect? and the smoke
Of doubt, blown into your eyes, make night of your road?
And the sting of the goad,
The merciless goad of scorn,
And the rise and fall
Of the whip of necessity gall,
Till your heart, forlorn,
Indignant, in rage would rebel?
And your bosom fill,
And sobbingly swell,
With bitterness, yea, against God and 'gainst Fate,
Fate, and the world of men,
What of it then?. .
Let it be as it will,
If you labor and wait,
You, too, will arrive, and the end for you, too, will be well.
What of it then, say I! yea, what of it then!

II.

Well, what of it then? if the hate of the world and of men
Make wreck of your dreams again?
What of it then
If contumely and sneer,
And ignorant jibe and jeer,
Be heaped upon all that you do and dream:
And the irresistible stream
Of events overwhelm and submerge
All effort or so it may seem?
Not all, not all shall be lost,
Not all, in the merciless gurge
And pitiless surge!
Though you see it tempestuously tost,
Though you see it sink down or sweep by,
Not in vain did you strive, not in vain!
The struggle, the longing and toil
Of hand and of heart and of brain,
Not in vain was it all, say I!
For out of the wild turmoil
And seething and soil
Of Time, some part of the whole will arise,
Arise and remain,
In spite of the wrath of the skies
And the hate of men.
What of it then, say I! yea, what of it then!

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