Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, WILLIAM BROWN, by JAMES WHITCOMB RILEY

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WILLIAM BROWN, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: He bore the name of william
Last Line: All but the name of william brown.
Alternate Author Name(s): Johnson Of Boone, Benj. F.
Subject(s): Death; Duty; Fate; God; Dead, The; Destiny

"HE bore the name of William Brown" --
His name, at least, did not go down
With him that day
He went the way
Of certain death where duty lay.

He looked his fate full in the face --
He saw his watery resting-place
Undaunted, and
With firmer hand
Held others' hopes in sure command. --

The hopes of full three hundred lives --
Aye, babes unborn, and promised wives!
"The odds are dread,"
He must have said,
"Here, God, is one poor life instead."

No time for praying overmuch --
No time for tears, or woman's touch
Of tenderness,
Or child's caress --
His last "God bless them!" stopped at "bless" --

Thus man and engine, nerved with steel,
Clasped iron hands for woe or weal,
And so went down
Where dark waves drown
All but the name of William Brown.

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