Courage He Said ~ Jessie Redmon Fauset

Courage He Said

Jessie Redmon Fauset

ULYSSES, debarking in the Lotos Land, 
Struck the one note that the hapless Ithacans 
Travel-sick, mazed, bemused, could understand, 
And understanding, follow.

'Courage,' he said, 'remember, is not Hope!' 
He left the worn, safe ship, spume-stained and hollow. 
'To be courageous is to face despair.' 
And through the groves and 'thwart the ambient air 
Resounded reedy echoes: 
'Face despair!'


But this they understood. 
And plunging on prepared for best, and most prepared 
For worst, found only in their stride 
A deep umbrageous wood, 
And grassy plains where they disported; eased 
And bathed lame feet within a purling stream 
And murmured: 'Here, Odysseus, would we fain abide!'


But neither the stream's sweet ease 
Nor the shade of the vast beech-trees, 
Nor the blessed sense 
Of the sweet, sweet soil 
Beneath feet salt-cracked and worn 
Brought to them even then, 
(Still fainting and frayed and forlorn), 
Such complete recompense 
As the knowledge that once again 
Facing the new and untried, 
They had kept the courage of men! 

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