The Poetry Corner

For The Man Who Fails

By Paul Laurence Dunbar

The world is a snob, and the man who wins Is the chap for its money's worth: And the lust for success causes half of the sins That are cursing this brave old earth. For it 's fine to go up, and the world's applause Is sweet to the mortal ear; But the man who fails in a noble cause Is a hero that 's no less dear. 'T is true enough that the laurel crown Twines but for the victor's brow; For many a hero has lain him down With naught but the cypress bough. There are gallant men in the losing fight, And as gallant deeds are done As ever graced the captured height Or the battle grandly won. We sit at life's board with our nerves highstrung, And we play for the stake of Fame, And our odes are sung and our banners hung For the man who wins the game. But I have a song of another kind Than breathes in these fame-wrought gales,-- An ode to the noble heart and mind Of the gallant man who fails! The man who is strong to fight his fight, And whose will no front can daunt, If the truth be truth and the right be right, Is the man that the ages want. Tho' he fail and die in grim defeat, Yet he has not fled the strife, And the house of Earth will seem more sweet For the perfume of his life.