The Lost Leader
by Robert Browning
Just for a handful of silver he left us,
Just for a riband to stick in his coat—
Found the one gift of which fortune bereft us,
Lost all the others she lets us devote;
They, with the gold to give, doled him out silver,
So much was theirs who so little allowed:
How all our copper had gone for his service!
Rags — were they purple, his heart had been proud!
We that had loved him so, followed him, honoured him,
Lived in his mild and magnificent eye,
Learned his great language, caught his clear accents,
Made him our pattern to live and to die!
Shakespeare was of us, Milton was for us,
Burns, Shelley, were with us—they watch from their graves!
He alone breaks from the van and the freemen
— He alone sinks to the rear and the slaves!
We shall march prospering—not through his presence;
Songs may inspirit us—not from his lyre;
Deeds will be done—While he boasts his quiescence,
Still bidding crouch whom the rest bade aspire:
Blot out his name, then, record one lost soul more,
One task more declined, one more footpath untrod,
One more devils'-triumph and sorrow for angels,
One wrong more to man, one more insult to God!
Life's night begins: let him never come back to us!
There would be doubt, hesitation and pain,
Forced praise on our part—the glimmer of twilight,
Never glad confident morning again!
Best fight on well, for we taught him—strike gallantly,
Menace our heart ere we master his own;
Then let him receive the new knowledge and wait us,
Pardoned in heaven, the first by the throne!
布朗寧（Robert Browning, 1812-1889）英國詩人，劇作家。
華德務茨（William Wordsworth, 1770-1850）曾是英國思想界及文壇領袖，為當時的少年一代所崇敬。到了晚年接受政府“桂冠詩人”的榮銜，拿了當權者的錢，言詞就大不相同了。跟從他的年輕人都非常失望。
本詩作者布朗寧，比他年輕四十二歲，為他哀傷，作了悼詩，題為“失落的領袖”（“The Lost Leader”）。為了名與利失去了理想，不僅是一個人的失敗。