Monday, 12 August 2019

Poetry Revisited: Every-Day Heroes by Charlotte Young

Every-Day Heroes

(from The World's Complaint and Other Poems: 1847)

We speak and we read of the hero’s deeds,
     And envy perchance his fame;
We would tread, like him, some path that leads
     To gaining a deathless name;
And we sigh as our time is vainly spent,
„Oh, ‘t was not for this that I was meant!“

We feel, with a touch of deep regret,
     What nothing’s, alas! we ‘ve been;
How like a stagnant pool, as yet,
     Has been to us Life’s stream.
There seemed to our souls a warning scut,—
„Mortal! for this thou wert not meant.”

Yet we sit and dream of a better day,
     And idly its coming wait,
When, like the hero of poet’s lay,
     We too maybe something great;
And still through the mist our spirits grope,
For the distant gleam of this better hope.

For alas! while we dream these airy dreams,
     And sigh for the better afar,
We are dwelling on that which only seems,
     While we slight the truths that are.
We are looking for flowers more fair and sweet,
While we trample the fairest ‘neath our feet.

The wearisome, lone, and monotonous lot,
     Where To-day ‘s as the day that is gone;
Where To-morrow brings nothing To-day has not,
     Nor evening the hopes of the morn;
Oh! even here, in the loneliest hours,
Are there lying some fair but neglected flowers.

Some being we gaze on from day to day,
     And tend with a holy care,
Lightening the woes in each other’s way,
     Each breathing a mutual prayer.
Oh! here, in the homeliest act or speech,
May we to the fame of a hero reach.

For when selfish thoughts are for others subdued,
     And smiles conquer the rising frown,
When we love our own in another’s good,
     Oh! we weave us a deathless crown,
That many a hero’s present or past,
With all its glory, has never surpassed.

Oh! did we but see how in smallest things
     Are beginnings of all that ‘s great,
Life’s soil woidd be watered by countless springs,
     That now ‘neath the surface wait.
We should feel that when earthward kindly sent,
For heroes and heroines all were meant.

Charlotte Young (fl. 1847)
British poet

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