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Saturday, September 11, 2010

Say Not the Struggle Naught Availeth

(Bust with Twin Towers by André Kertész, 1894-1985,
Hungarian-born photographer)

Today we remember one of the saddest days in America’s history.

On April 27, 1941, after a period of heavy Nazi bombardment of England, Prime Minister Winston Churchill went on the radio and spoke to the world. In his speech, he quoted the last verse of this poem.


Say not the struggle naught availeth,
The labor and the wounds are vain,
The enemy faints not, nor faileth,
And as things have been they remain.

If hopes were dupes, fears may be liars;
It may be, in yon smoke concealed,
Your comrades chase e'en now the fliers,
And, but for you, possess the field.

For while the tired waves, vainly breaking,
Seem here, no painful inch to gain,
Far back, through creeks and inlets making,
Comes silent, flooding in, the main.

And not by eastern windows only,
When daylight comes, comes in the light,
In front, the sun climbs slow, how slowly,
But westward, look, the land is bright!

~ Arthur Hugh Clough (1819-1861), English poet

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