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The Losing Side

From the Omaha Daily Bee, August 31, 1913. By Arthur Legge.

Helmet and plume and saber, banner and lance and shield,
Scattered in sad confusion over the trampled field;
And the band of broken soldiers, with a weary, hopeless air,
With heads in silence drooping, and eyes of grim despair.
    Like foam-flakes left on the drifting sand
        In the track of a falling tide,
    On the ground where their cause has failed they stand,
        The last of the losing side.

Wisdom of age is vanquished, and generous hopes of youth,
Passion of faith and honor, fire of love and truth;
And the plans that seemed the fairest in the fight have not prevailed.
The keenest blades are broken and the strongest arms have failed.
    But souls that know not the breath of shame,
        And tongues that have never lied,
    And the truest hearts and the fairest fame,
        Are here—on the losing side.

The conqueror’s crown of glory is set with many a gem,
But I join not in their triumph—there are plenty to shout for them;
The cause is the most applauded whose warriors gain the day,
And the world’s best smiles are given to the victors in the fray.
    But dearer to me is the darkened plain,
        Where the noblest dreams have died,
    Where hopes have been shattered and heroes slain
        In the ranks of the losing side.

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