The Poetry Corner

The Warrior's Prayer

By Paul Laurence Dunbar

Long since, in sore distress, I heard one pray, "Lord, who prevailest with resistless might, Ever from war and strife keep me away, My battles fight!" I know not if I play the Pharisee, And if my brother after all be right; But mine shall be the warrior's plea to thee-- Strength for the fight. I do not ask that thou shalt front the fray, And drive the warring foeman from my sight; I only ask, O Lord, by night, by day, Strength for the fight! When foes upon me press, let me not quail Nor think to turn me into coward flight. I only ask, to make mine arms prevail, Strength for the fight! Still let mine eyes look ever on the foe, Still let mine armor case me strong and bright; And grant me, as I deal each righteous blow, Strength for the fight! And when, at eventide, the fray is done, My soul to Death's bedchamber do thou light, And give me, be the field or lost or won, Rest from the fight!