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Louis Untermeyer, ed. (1885–1977). Modern American Poetry. 1919.

Louis Untermeyer1885–1977

On the Birth of a Child

LO, to the battle-ground of Life,

Child, you have come, like a conquering shout,

Out of a struggle—into strife;

Out of a darkness—into doubt.

Girt with the fragile armor of youth,

Child, you must ride into endless wars,

With the sword of protest, the buckler of truth,

And a banner of love to sweep the stars.

About you the world’s despair will surge;

Into defeat you must plunge and grope.

Be to the faltering an urge;

Be to the hopeless years a hope!

Be to the darkened world a flame;

Be to its unconcern a blow—

For out of its pain and tumult you came,

And into its tumult and pain you go.