Say not the trouble nought availeth

by Clough

Clough was an attractive poet who expressed healthy scepticism about the public ethics of the Victorian period and wrote movingly about friendship and the pain of estrangement. This poem is a pick-me-up when like me you are trying to create a new website, and it expresses welcome optimism in the thick of the Coronavirus. A reading of the last two stanzas by Sir Winston Churchill is available here.

Say not the struggle nought availeth,
The labour 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 morning comes, comes in the light:
In front, the Sun climbs slow, how slowly,
But westward, look, the land is bright.