Emily Dickenson on victory

The title of the prevous blog entry, “Bush adopts VFR’s definition of victory,” rang a bell in my mind. I knew the phrase “definition of victory” was familiar to me, but I couldn’t place it. I thought maybe it was from a Bob Dylan song. Then I remembered. It’s from an Emily Dickenson poem, “Success is counted sweetest,” that was a favorite of mine when I was in my teens. Apropos of nothing, except that I like it, here it is:

Success is counted sweetest
By those who ne’er succeed.
To comprehend a nectar
Requires sorest need.

Not one of all the purple host
Who took the flag today
Can tell the definition,
So clear, of victory,

As he, defeated, dying,
On whose forbidden ear
The distant strains of triumph
Break, agonized and clear.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at January 28, 2005 02:06 AM | Send

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