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Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. (1833–1908). A Victorian Anthology, 1837–1895. 1895.

Gerald Massey b. 1828

The Deserter from the Cause

HE is gone: better so. We should know who stand under

Our banner: let none but the trusty remain!

For there ’s stern work at hand, and the time comes shall sunder

The shell from the pearl, and the chaff from the grain.

And the heart that through danger and death will be dutiful,

Soul that with Cranmer in fire would shake hands,

With a life like a palace-home built for the beautiful,

Freedom of all her beloved demands.

He is gone from us! Yet shall we march on victorious,

Hearts burning like beacons—eyes fix’d on the goal!

And if we fall fighting, we fall like the glorious,

With face to the stars, and all heaven in the soul.

And aye for the brave stir of battle we ’ll barter

The sword of life sheath’d in the peace of the grave;

And better the fieriest fate of the martyr,

Than live like the coward, and die like the slave!