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Stedman and Hutchinson, comps. A Library of American Literature:
An Anthology in Eleven Volumes. 1891.
Vols. IX–XI: Literature of the Republic, Part IV., 1861–1889

Noblesse Oblige

By Robert Underwood Johnson (1853–1937)

[Born in Washington, D.C., 1853. Died in New York, N. Y., 1937. The Century Magazine. 1883–89.]

WHAT is diviner than the peace of foes!

He conquers not who does not conquer hate,

Or thinks the shining wheels of heaven wait

On his forgiving. Dimmer the laurel shows

On brows that darken; and war-won repose

Is but a truce when heroes abdicate

To Huns—unfabling those of elder date

Whose every corse a fiercer warrior rose.

O ye that saved the land! Ah yes, and ye

That bless its saving! Neither need forget

The price our destiny did of both demand—

Toil, want, wounds, prison, and the lonely sea

Of tears at home. Oh, look on these. And yet—

Before the human fail you—quick! your hand!