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The Hero

Ziphen Central – Seeking Wisdom and Sublimity

From Ailenroc’s Book, by Cornelia Alexander

“Who is the hero?” The old soldier’s face
Lit with a flush, and gleamed his sunken eye,
“The hero is the man who does his duty,
And fears not to die.
Where rolls the drum and shrieks the shell,
And men press on where men have fell;
Where red blood from the bayonet streams,
Where whistling bullets cleave the air—
The hero is found there.”

“Who is the hero?” The gallant tar,
Bronzed by long voyages the world around,
Gave answer: “On the sinking ship
The hero may be found.
When inky blackness veils the face of heaven,
When upon hidden rocks the ship is driven,
When through the broken spars the roaring gale
Thunders, and men’s hearts within them fail—
No hope from land or sea or earth or sky—
There does the hero die.

“Who is the hero?” The man of God,
Whose silver locks proclaim his many years,
Whose pen was dipped in inspiration’s fount,
Answers (his voice comes to our ears):
“Greater than he who falls amid the battle’s din
Or scales the walls, conquering the foe within,
Or, lion-hearted, breasts the foaming wave,
Giving his life the feebler souls to save,
Is he who conquers his own sinful heart,
And, ruling it, acts the true hero’s part.”

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