Say not the Struggle nought Availeth

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).
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. Back to Line
Publication Start Year: 
RPO poem Editors: 
Margaret Frances (Sister St. Francis) Nims
RPO Edition: 
3RP 3.195.