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The Reformers

by
 1901

Not in the camp his victory lies
 Or triumph in the market-place,
Who is his Nation's sacrifice
To turn the judgement from his race.
Happy is he who, bred and taught By sleek, sufficing Circumstance -- Whose Gospel was the apparelled thought, Whose Gods were Luxury and Chance -- Seese, on the threshold of his days, The old life shrivel like a scroll, And to unheralded dismays Submits his body and his soul; The fatted shows wherein he stood Foregoing, and the idiot pride, That he may prove with his own blood All that his easy sires denied -- Ultimate issues, primal springs, Demands, abasements, penalties -- The imperishable plinth of things Seen and unseen, that touch our peace.
For, though ensnaring ritual dim His vision through the after-years, Yet virtue shall go out of him -- Example profiting his peers.
With great things charged he shall not hold Aloof till great occasion rise, But serve, full-harnessed, as of old, The Days that are the Destinies.
He shall forswear and put away The idols of his sheltered house; And to Necessity shall pay Unflinching tribute of his vows.
He shall not plead another's act, Nor bind him in another's oath To weigh the Word above the Fact, Or make or take excuse for sloth.
The yoke he bore shall press him still, And, long-ingrained effort goad To find, to fasion, and fulfil The cleaner life, the sterner code.
Not in the camp his victory lies -- The world (unheeding his return) Shall see it in his children's eyes And from his grandson's lips shall learn!

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