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Alfred Noyes

The Lost Battle

It is not over yet—the fight

Where those immortal dreamers failed.

They stormed the citadels of night

And the night praised them—and prevailed.

So long ago the cause was lost

We scarce distinguish friend from foe;

But—if the dead can help it most—

The armies of the dead will grow.

The world has all our banners now,

And filched our watchwords for its own.

The world has crowned the "rebel's" brow

And millions crowd his lordly throne.

The masks have altered. Names are names;

They praise the "truth" that is not true.

The "rebel" that the world acclaims

Is not the rebel Shelley knew.

We may not build that Commonweal.

We may not reach the goal we set.

But there's a flag they dare not steal.

Forward! It is not over yet.

We shall be dust and under dust

Before we end that ancient wrong;

But here's a sword that cannot rust,

And where's the death can touch a song?

So, when our bodies rot in earth

The singing souls that once were ours,

Weaponed with light and helmed with mirth,

Shall front the kingdoms and the powers.

The ancient lie is on its throne,

And half the living still forget;

But, since the dead are all our own,

Courage, it is not over yet.