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The Singer’s Apology

From The Seattle Star, November 18, 1912. By Berton Braley.

 I have heartened your soul for battle, I have turned your face to the fray,
 I have stirred your blood to a seething flood with many a valiant lay;
 I have made your songs of conflict and slogans to lead you on,
 I have chanted you forth to victory when all your hope was gone.
 You march to the beat of songs I sing, they comfort your sleep at night
 And yet you call me a weakling soul because I do not fight!
 If I go forth to the battle field and join in the conflict there
 I am only one of a thousand men who does his little share
 But the songs I make in my sheltered tent as I toil with brain and pen
 Are the breath that fans the fighting flame in the hearts of a thousand men.
 And, though I take not to the field or stand in the battle line
 The word that carries the warriors on to victory is mine!
 I have lifted your souls from fell defeat to battle again—and win
 I have sounded a clarion call of faith amid the fighting din
 What matters it if my hand is weak when I make ten thousand strong
 By the thrill of a magic chant of words and the rhythm of a song?
 I keep the private’s courage high, the captain’s eyes alight—
 And yet you call me a weakling soul because I do not fight!

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