Arthur Hugh Clough


Life is Struggle


TO WEAR out heart, and nerves, and brain,
And give oneself a world of pain;
Be eager, angry, fierce, and hot,
Imperious, supple—God knows what,
For what’s all one to have or not;
O false, unwise, absurd, and vain!
For ’tis not joy, it is not gain,
It is not in itself a bliss,
Only it is precisely this
That keeps us all alive.

To say we truly feel the pain,
And quite are sinking with the strain;—
Entirely, simply, undeceived,
Believe, and say we ne’er believed
The object, e’en were it achieved,
A thing we e’er had cared to keep;
With heart and soul to hold it cheap,
And then to go and try it again;
O false, unwise, absurd, and vain!
O, ’tis not joy, and ’tis not bliss,
Only it is precisely this
That keeps us still alive.




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