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Poem by William Ernest Henley


The Chief


His brow spreads large and placid, and his eye
Is deep and bright, with steady looks that still.
Soft lines of tranquil thought his face fulfill -
His face at once benign and proud and shy.
If envy scout, if ignorance deny,
His faultless patience, his unyielding will,
Beautiful gentleness and splendid skill,
Innumerable gratitudes reply.
His wise, rare smile is sweet with certainties,
And seems in all his patients to compel
Such love and faith as failure cannot quell.
We hold him for another Herakles,
Battling with custom, prejudice, disease,
As once the son of Zeus with Death and Hell.



William Ernest Henley


William Ernest Henley's other poems:
  1. London Types: Bus Driver
  2. A Wink from Hesper
  3. The Ways of Death Are Soothing and Serene
  4. In Rotten Row
  5. Before


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