II.

As I gird on for fighting
   My sword upon my thigh,
I think on old ill fortunes
   Of better men than I.

Think I, the round world over,
   What golden lads are low
With hurts not mine to mourn for
   And shames I shall not know.

What evil luck soever
   For me remains in store,
‘Tis sure much finer fellows
   Have fared much worse before.

So here are things to think on
   That ought to make me brave,
As I strap on for fighting
   My sword that will not save.

A.E. Housman, Last Poems
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Public domain: first published in 1922.

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