"Truth, Crushed To Earth, Shall Rise Again"

(Magill's Quotations in Context)

Context: This poem begins as a controlled diatribe against war. The poet describes a peaceful landscape across which soldiers once marched to battle. Ironically, the blood of these heroes was spilled, "warm with hope and valor yet,/ Upon the soil they fought to save." Now, the poet tells us, this battlefield is "calm, and fresh, and still." He hopes that the battle-cry may never be heard again. Then he addresses another "soldier," one who fights to bring new truths to mankind, "truths which men receive not now." The battle on the field was soon ended, but the prophet must struggle all his life in his "friendless warfare" for truth. And yet the lonely fighter must "nerve [his] spirit" and "blench not." For there is hope; even if the lonely individual is destroyed in the struggle ("Like those who fell in battle" on the field), truth shall finally triumph:

Nor heed the shaft too surely cast,
The foul and hissing bolt of scorn;
For with thy side shall dwell, at last,
The victory of endurance born,
Truth, crushed to earth, shall rise again;
Th' eternal years of God are hers;
But Error, wounded, writhes in pain,
And dies among his worshipers.