William Wordsworth

Here you will find the Long Poem Character of the Happy Warrior of poet William Wordsworth

Character of the Happy Warrior

. Who is the happy Warrior? Who is he
 That every man in arms should wish to be?
 --It is the generous Spirit, who, when brought
 Among the tasks of real life, hath wrought
 Upon the plan that pleased his boyish thought:
 Whose high endeavours are an inward light
 That makes the path before him always bright;
 Who, with a natural instinct to discern
 What knowledge can perform, is diligent to learn;
 Abides by this resolve, and stops not there,
 But makes his moral being his prime care;
 Who, doomed to go in company with Pain,
 And Fear, and Bloodshed, miserable train!
 Turns his necessity to glorious gain;
 In face of these doth exercise a power
 Which is our human nature's highest dower:
 Controls them and subdues, transmutes, bereaves
 Of their bad influence, and their good receives:
 By objects, which might force the soul to abate
 Her feeling, rendered more compassionate;
 Is placable--because occasions rise
 So often that demand such sacrifice;
 More skilful in self-knowledge, even more pure,
 As tempted more; more able to endure,
 As more exposed to suffering and distress;
 Thence, also, more alive to tenderness.
 --'Tis he whose law is reason; who depends
 Upon that law as on the best of friends;
 Whence, in a state where men are tempted still
 To evil for a guard against worse ill,
 And what in quality or act is best
 Doth seldom on a right foundation rest,
 He labours good on good to fix, and owes
 To virtue every triumph that he knows:
 --Who, if he rise to station of command,
 Rises by open means; and there will stand
 On honourable terms, or else retire,
 And in himself possess his own desire;
 Who comprehends his trust, and to the same
 Keeps faithful with a singleness of aim;
 And therefore does not stoop, nor lie in wait
 For wealth, or honours, or for worldly state;
 Whom they must follow; on whose head must fall,
 Like showers of manna, if they come at all:
 Whose powers shed round him in the common strife,
 Or mild concerns of ordinary life,
 A constant influence, a peculiar grace;
 But who, if he be called upon to face
 Some awful moment to which Heaven has joined
 Great issues, good or bad for human kind,
 Is happy as a Lover; and attired
 With sudden brightness, like a Man inspired;
 And, through the heat of conflict, keeps the law
 In calmness made, and sees what he foresaw;
 Or if an unexpected call succeed,
 Come when it will, is equal to the need:
 --He who, though thus endued as with a sense
 And faculty for storm and turbulence,
 Is yet a Soul whose master-bias leans
 To homefelt pleasures and to gentle scenes;
 Sweet images! which, wheresoe'er he be,
 Are at his heart; and such fidelity
 It is his darling passion to approve;
 More brave for this, that he hath much to love:--
 'Tis, finally, the Man, who, lifted high,
 Conspicuous object in a Nation's eye,
 Or left unthought-of in obscurity,--
 Who, with a toward or untoward lot,
 Prosperous or adverse, to his wish or not--
 Plays, in the many games of life, that one
 Where what he most doth value must be won:
 Whom neither shape or danger can dismay,
 Nor thought of tender happiness betray;
 Who, not content that former worth stand fast,
 Looks forward, persevering to the last,
 From well to better, daily self-surpast:
 Who, whether praise of him must walk the earth
 For ever, and to noble deeds give birth,
 Or he must fall, to sleep without his fame,
 And leave a dead unprofitable name--
 Finds comfort in himself and in his cause;
 And, while the mortal mist is gathering, draws
 His breath in confidence of Heaven's applause:
 This is the happy Warrior; this is he
 That every man in arms should wish to be.