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The Assault Heroic

 Down in the mud I lay, 
Tired out by my long day 
Of five damned days and nights, 
Five sleepless days and nights,… 
Dream-snatched, and set me where
The dungeon of Despair 
Looms over Desolate Sea, 
Frowning and threatening me 
With aspect high and steep— 
A most malignant keep.
My foes that lay within Shouted and made a din, Hooted and grinned and cried: “Today we’ve killed your pride; Today your ardour ends We’ve murdered all your friends; We’ve undermined by stealth Your happiness and your health.
We’ve taken away your hope; Now you may droop and mope To misery and to Death.
” But with my spear of Faith, Stout as an oaken rafter, With my round shield of laughter, With my sharp, tongue-like sword That speaks a bitter word, I stood beneath the wall And there defied them all.
The stones they cast I caught And alchemized with thought Into such lumps of gold As dreaming misers hold.
The boiling oil they threw Fell in a shower of dew, Refreshing me; the spears Flew harmless by my ears, Struck quivering in the sod; There, like the prophet’s rod, Put leaves out, took firm root, And bore me instant fruit.
My foes were all astounded, Dumbstricken and confounded, Gaping in a long row; They dared not thrust nor throw.
Thus, then, I climbed a steep Buttress and won the keep, And laughed and proudly blew My horn, “Stand to! Stand to! Wake up, sir! Here’s a new Attack! Stand to! Stand to!”

by Robert Graves
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