A Duty Done - 1933
A duty done ... What else was there to do?
A simple matter; and as simply solved.
His straight young mind worked straightly - worked as true
As ever youth's clean mind. Here no involved
And weighty pondering of faith or fact.
Duty demanded; and he leapt to act.
He leapt and died . . . Could he but tell it now,
There would, be sure, come no heroic tale.
'What else would any man do, any how?'
This thing cried to be done. How could he fail?
The cry; the danger; Duty's sudden call;
Then - well, a bit of bad luck. That was all.
They say that youth grows cynical: too prone
To weigh advantage; thro' some modern plan
Changed from the clear-eyed youth old days had known:
More of a crafty huckster, less a man.
They say - and they are answered by one youth,
Proving again one wholesome human truth.
A duty done; and valiantly done.
Tho' death came in the doing, yet, who knows
At what wise ordering? No living one
May say how kind death be to such as those
Youth, unjustified, triumphing on his way,
Quiet hero of this world of work-a-day.