Conqueror

Though I defy the howling horde
As bloody-browed I smite,
Back to the wall with shattered sword
When darkly dooms the night;
Though hoarse they cheer as I go down
Before their bitter odds,
'Tis I who win the victor's crown,
The guerdon of the gods.

For all who fall in fearless fight
Alight a deathless flame,
That glorifies the godless night
And fills the foe with shame.
'Tis they who triumph heaven-high,
And so in hell's despite,
Be mine the dauntless will to die
In battle for the right.

The rant and cant of futile folk
Break brittle in my ears;
Let me cast off the cursed yoke
And fall upon the spears.
Aye, though they mock my broken blade,
And stamp and spit on me,
Mine is the Shining Accolade,
The Star of Victory.

by Robert William Service

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