AIEN ARISTEUEIN

Original Text: 
Robert F. Murray: his Poems, with a memoir by Andrew Lang (London: Longmans, Green, 1894): xlii-xliii. PR 5101 M5A6 1894 Robarts Library
2    In whatsoever things are true;
3    Not stand among the halting crew
4The faint of heart, the feeble-kneed,
5Who tarry for a certain sign
6    To make them follow with the rest --
7Oh, let not their reproach be thine!
8        But ever be the best.
9For want of this aspiring soul,
10    Great deeds on earth remain undone,
11    But, sharpened by the sight of one,
12Many shall press toward the goal,
13Thou running foremost of the throng,
14    The fire of striving in thy breast,
15Shalt win, although the race be long,
16        And ever be the best.
17And wilt thou question of the prize?
18    'Tis not of silver or of gold,
19    Nor in applauses manifold,
20But hidden in the heart it lies.
21To know that but for thee not one
22    Had run the race or sought the quest,
23To know that thou hast ever done
24        And ever been the best.

Notes

1] The Greek title, which is the maxim of Alexander the Great (taken from Homer's Iliad), and the motto of St. Andrews University (displayed "in the Upper Library Hall, where the ceremony of Graduation takes place" [The Scarlet Gown, p. 132]), is translated in the poem's opening sentence. Back to Line
RPO poem Editors: 
Ian Lancashire
RPO Edition: 
2001
Rhyme: