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Short poem

Arthur Hugh Clough (1819-1861)

Say not the Struggle nought Availeth

              1Say not the struggle nought availeth,
              2The labour and the wounds are vain,
              3The enemy faints not nor faileth,
              4And as things have been, things remain;

              5If hopes were dupes, fears may be liars;
              6It may be, in yon smoke conceal'd,
              7Your comrades chase e'en now the fliers--
              8And, but for you, possess the field.

              9For while the tired waves vainly breaking
            10Seem here no painful inch to gain,
            11Far back, through creeks and inlets making,
            12Comes silent, flooding in, the main.

            13And not by eastern windows only,
            14When daylight comes, comes in the light,
            15In front the sun climbs slow, how slowly,
            16But westward, look! the land is bright.


1] First published under the title "The Struggle" in an American art journal, The Crayon, August 1855. The poem appeared without a title in the 1862 volume, and again, with the title "Say Not the Struggle Nought Availeth," in The Poems and Prose Remains of Arthur Hugh Clough, 1869. Although the meaning of the poem is not limited by any topical significance, Clough probably had in mind especially the liberals who were disappointed by the failure of revolutionary movements in France and Italy in 1848 and 1849.

Online text copyright © 2003, Ian Lancashire for the Department of English, University of Toronto.
Published by the Web Development Group, Information Technology Services, University of Toronto Libraries.

Original text: The Crayon (August 1855). Ed. W. J. Stillman and John Dursand (New York: AMS Press, 1970). N 1 C9 ROBA. The standard recent edition of Clough's poetry is The Poems of Arthur Hugh Clough, edited by H. F. Lowry, A. L. P. Norrington and F. L. Mulhauser (Oxford, 1951).
First publication date: August 1855
RPO poem editor: Margaret Frances (Sister St. Francis) Nims
RP edition: 3RP 3.195.
Recent editing: 4:2002/1/30

Composition date: 1849
Form: Long Hymnal Measure
Rhyme: abab

Other poems by Arthur Hugh Clough