There are songs enough for the hero
Who dwells on the heights of fame;
I sing of the disappointed —
For those who have missed their aim.
I sing with a tearful cadence
For one who stands in the dark,
And knows that his last, best arrow
Has bounded back from the mark.
I sing for the breathless runner,
The eager, anxious soul,
Who falls with his strength exhausted.
Almost in sight of the goal;
For the hearts that break in silence,
With a sorrow all unknown,
For those who need companions,
Yet walk their ways alone.
There are songs enough for the lovers
Who share love’s tender pain,
I sing for the one whose passion
Is given all in vain.
For those whose spirit comrades
Have missed them on their way,
I sing, with a heart o’erflowing,
This minor strain today.
And I know the Solar system
Must somewhere keep in space
A prize for that spent runner
Who barely lost the race.
For the plan would be imperfect
Unless it held some sphere
That paid for the toil and talent
And love that are wasted here.
Ella Wheeler Wilcox (1850 – 1919)