The Happy Warrior

A poem by Violet Jacob

I have brought no store from the field now the day is ended,
The harvest moon is up and I bear no sheaves;
When the toilers carry the fruits hanging gold and splendid,
I have but leaves.

When the saints pass by in the pride of their stainless raiment,
Their brave hearts high with the joy of the gifts they bring,
I have saved no whit from the sum of my daily payment
For offering.

Not there is my place where the workman his toil delivers,
I scarce can see the ground where the hero stands,
I must wait as the one poor fool in that host of givers,
With empty hands.

There was no time lent to me that my skill might fashion
Some work of praise, some glory, some thing of light,
For the swarms of hell came on in their power and passion,
I could but fight.

I am maimed and spent, I am broken and trodden under,
With wheel and horseman the battle has swept me o'er,
And the long, vain warfare has riven my heart asunder,
I can no more.

But my soul is still; though the sundering door has hidden
The mirth and glitter, the sound of the lighted feast,
Though the guests go in and I stand in the night, unbidden,
The worst, the least.

My soul is still. I have gotten nor fame nor treasure,
Let all men spurn me, let devils and angels frown,
But the scars I bear are a guerdon of royal measure,
My stars - my crown.

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