A Tale Of Two Careers

By Charles Sorley


HE does not dress as other men,
His `kishi is loud and gay,
His 'side' is as the 'side' of ten
Because his 'buries' are grey.

His head has swollen to a size
Beyond the proper size for heads,
He metaphorically buys
The ground on which he treads.

Before his face of haughty grace
The ordinary mortal cowers:
A 'forty-cap' has put the chap
Into another world from ours.

The funny little world that lies
'Twixt High Street and the Mound
Is just a swarm of buzzing flies
That aimlessly go round:

If one is stronger in the limb
Or better able to work hard,
It's quite amusing to watch him
Ascending heavenward.

But if one cannot work or play
(Who loves the better part too well),
It's really sad to see the lad
Retained compulsorily in hell.


We are the wasters, who have no
Hope in this world here, neither fame,
Because we cannot collar low
Nor write a strange dead tongue the same
As strange dead men did long ago.

We are the weary, who begin
The race with joy, but early fail,
Because we do not care to win
A race that goes not to the frail
And humble: only the proud come in.

We are the shadow-forms, who pass
Unheeded hence from work and play.
We are to-day, but like the grass
That to-day is, we pass away;
And no one stops to say 'Alasl'

Though we have little, all we have
We give our School. And no return
We can expect for what we gave;
No joys; only a summons stern,
"Depart, for others entrance crave!"

As soon as she can clearly prove
That from us is no hope of gain,
Because we only bring her love
And cannot bring her strength or brain,
She tells us, "Go: it is enough."

She turns us out at seventeen,
We may not know her any more,
And all our life with her has been
A life of seeing others score,
While we sink lower and are mean.

We have seen others reap success
Full-measure. None has come to us.
Our life has been one failure. Yes,
But does not God prefer it thus?
God does not also praise success.

And for each failure that we meet,
And for each place we drop behind,
Each toil that holds our aching feet,
Each star we seek and never find,
God, knowing, gives us comfort meet.

The School we care for has not cared
To cherish nor keep our names to be
Memorials. God hath prepared
Some better thing for us, for we
His hopes have known, His failures shared.

November 1912

Tuesday, July 23rd, 2024