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CHARACTER OF THE HAPPY WARRIOR

 WHO is the happy Warrior? Who is he That every man in arms should wish to be? --It is the generous Spirit, who, when brought Among the tasks of real life, hath wrought Upon the plan that pleased his boyish thought: Whose high endeavours are an inward light That makes the path before him always bright: Who, with a natural instinct to discern What knowledge can perform, is diligent to learn; Abides by this resolve, and stops not there, 10 But makes his moral being his prime care; Who, doomed to go in company with Pain, And Fear, and Bloodshed, miserable train! Turns his necessity to glorious gain; In face of these doth exercise a power Which is our human nature's highest dower; Controls them and subdues, transmutes, bereaves Of their bad influence, and their good receives: By objects, which might force the soul to abate Her feeling, rendered more compassionate; 20 Is placable--because occasions rise So often that demand such sacrifice; More skilful in self-knowledge, even more pure, As tempted more; more able to endure, As more exposed to suffering and distress; Thence, also, more alive to tenderness. --'Tis he whose law is reason; who depends Upon that law as on the best of friends; Whence, in a state where men are tempted still To evil for a guard against worse ill, 30 And what in quality or act is best Doth seldom on a right foundation rest, He labours good on good to fix, and owes To virtue every triumph that he knows: --Who, if he rise to station of command, Rises by open means; and there will stand On honourable terms, or else retire, And in himself possess his own desire; Who comprehends his trust, and to the same Keeps faithful with a singleness of aim; 40 And therefore does not stoop, nor lie in wait For wealth, or honours, or for worldly state; Whom they must follow; on whose head must fall, Like showers of manna, if they come at all: Whose powers shed round him in the common strife, Or mild concerns of ordinary life, A constant influence, a peculiar grace; But who, if he be called upon to face Some awful moment to which Heaven has joined Great issues, good or bad for human kind, 50 Is happy as a Lover; and attired With sudden brightness, like a Man inspired; And, through the heat of conflict, keeps the law In calmness made, and sees what he foresaw; Or if an unexpected call succeed, Come when it will, is equal to the need: --He who, though thus endued as with a sense And faculty for storm and turbulence, Is yet a Soul whose master-bias leans To homefelt pleasures and to gentle scenes; 60 Sweet images! which, wheresoe'er he be, Are at his heart; and such fidelity It is his darling passion to approve; More brave for this, that he hath much to love:-- 'Tis, finally, the Man, who, lifted high, Conspicuous object in a Nation's eye, Or left unthought-of in obscurity,-- Who, with a toward or untoward lot, Prosperous or adverse, to his wish or not-- Plays, in the many games of life, that one 70 Where what he most doth value must be won: Whom neither shape of danger can dismay, Nor thought of tender happiness betray; Who, not content that former worth stand fast, Looks forward, persevering to the last, From well to better, daily self-surpast: Who, whether praise of him must walk the earth For ever, and to noble deeds give birth, Or he must fall, to sleep without his fame, And leave a dead unprofitable name-- 80 Finds comfort in himself and in his cause; And, while the mortal mist is gathering, draws His breath in confidence of Heaven's applause: This is the happy Warrior; this is He That every Man in arms should wish to be. 1806. 


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