WHY linger round the sunken wrecks
Where old Armadas found their graves?
Why slumber on the sleepy decks
While foam and clash the angry waves?
Up! when the storm-blast rends the clouds,
And winged with ruin sweeps the gale,
Young feet must climb the quivering shrouds,
Young hands must reef the bursting sail!

Leave us to fight the tyrant creeds
Who felt their shackles, feel their scars;
The cheerful sunlight little heeds
The brutes that prowled beneath the stars;
The dawn is here, the day star shows
The spoils of many a battle won,
But sin and sorrow still are foes
That face us in the morning sun.

Who sleeps beneath yon bannered mound
The proudly sorrowing mourner seeks,
The garland-bearing crowd surrounds?
A light-haired boy with beardless cheeks!
'T is time this 'fallen world' should rise;
Let youth the sacred work begin!
What nobler task, what fairer prize
Than earth to save and Heaven to win?

More verses by Oliver Wendell Holmes