How Did You Die?
DID you tackle that trouble that came your way
With a resolute heart and cheerful?
Or hide your face from the light of day
With a craven soul and fearful?
Oh! a trouble’s a ton, or a trouble’s an ounce,
Or a trouble is what you make it,
And it isn’t the fact that you’re hurt that counts,
But only—How did you take it?
You are beaten to earth? Well, well, what’s that?
Come up with a smiling face.
It’s nothing against you to fall down flat,
But to lie there—that’s disgrace.
The harder you’re thrown, why, the higher you bounce;
Be proud of your blackened eye!
It isn’t the fact that you’re licked that counts;
It’s—How did you fight—and why?
And though you be done to the death, what then?
If you battled the best you could,
If you played your part in the world of men,
Why, The Critic will call it good.
Death comes with a crawl, or comes with a pounce,
And whether he’s slow or spry,
It isn’t the fact that you’re dead that counts,
But only—How did you die?
—Edmund Vance Cooke, Impertinent Poems (1906).
- ☞ Weekly Story: Josiah Henson Escapes.
- ☞ Weekly Story: If You Don’t Stand Up For Yourself, How Can You Stand Up For Others?
- ☞ Samuel Adams—Candidus (October 14, 1771).
- ☞ Samuel Adams—Oration: August 1776.
- ☞ Algernon Sidney: On Unjust Law.