The Trophy


This the builder cannot guess,
Nor the lover’s utmost skill:
In the instant of success
Suddenly the heart stands still;

Suddenly a shadow falls
On the builder’s finished plan,
And the cry of love appals
All the energies of man.

What dire symbol of the heart
Comes, then, from its ancient tomb?
Image both of love and art,
See the Roman soldier come!

What great captain breaks his rest
All the annals cannot tell—
Stone lies blank upon his breast;
Bitter laurel shades him well—

What great captain’s rigid will
Checked in flight his rabble host,
Roused them, drove them, cheered them still,
Though they knew the battle lost;

And, when the campaign was won
By the single force of pride,
Heard the ghost within him groan,
Fell upon his sword and died.

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