Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE LOST LEADER, by ROBERT BROWNING



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THE LOST LEADER, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Just for a handful of silver he left us
Last Line: Pardoned in heaven, the first by the throne!
Subject(s): Freedom; Poetry & Poets; Wordsworth, William (1770-1850); Writing & Writers; Liberty


Just for a handful of silver he left us,
Just for a ribbon 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, honored
him,
Lived in his mild and magnificent eye,
Learned his great language, caught his clear ac-
cents,
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 freemen,
He alone sinks to the rear and the slaves!

We shall march prospering, -- not thro' his pres-
ence;
Songs may inspirit us, -- not from his lyre;
Deeds will be done, -- while he boasts his quies-
cence,
Still bidding crouch whom the rest bade aspire.
Blot out his name, then, record one lost soul more,
One task more declined, one more footpath un-
trod,
One more devil's-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 twi-
light,
Never glad confident morning again!
Best fight on well, for we taught him -- strike gal-
lantly,
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!




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