Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE HIGHER COURAGE, by ARTHUR HUGH CLOUGH



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THE HIGHER COURAGE, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Come back again, my olden heart!
Last Line: Wait on to show the truly right.
Subject(s): Courage; Valor; Bravery


COME back again, my olden heart! --
Ah, fickle spirit and untrue,
I bade the only guide depart
Whose faithfulness I surely knew:
I said, my heart is all too soft;
He who would climb and soar aloft
Must needs keep ever at his side
The tonic of a wholesome pride.

Come back again, my olden heart! --
Alas, I called not then for thee;
I called for Courage, and apart
From Pride if Courage could not be,
Then welcome, Pride! and I shall find
In thee a power to lift the mind
This low and grovelling joy above --
'Tis but the proud can truly love.

Come back again, my olden heart! --
With incrustations of the years
Uncased as yet, -- as then thou wert,
Full-filled with shame and coward fears:
Wherewith amidst a jostling throng
Of deeds, that each and all were wrong,
The doubting soul, from day to day,
Uneasy paralytic lay.

Come back again, my olden heart!
I said, Perceptions contradict,
Convictions come, anon depart,
And but themselves as false convict.
Assumptions, hasty, crude and vain,
Full oft to use will Science deign;
The corks the novice plies to-day
The swimmer soon shall cast away.

Come back again, my olden heart!
I said, Behold, I perish quite,
Unless to give me strength to start,
I make myself my rule of right:
It must be, if I act at all,
To save my shame I have at call
The plea of all men understood, --
Because I willed it, it is good.

Come back again, my olden heart!
I know not if in very deed
This means alone could aid impart
To serve my sickly spirit's need;
But clear alike of wild self-will,
And fear that faltered, paltered still,
Remorseful thoughts of after days
A way espy betwixt the ways.

Come back again, old heart! Ah me!
Methinks in those thy coward fears
There might, perchance, a courage be,
That fails in these the manlier years;
Courage to let the courage sink,
Itself a coward base to think,
Rather than not for heavenly light
Wait on to show the truly right.





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