Ballade of Unsuccessful Men

I

The cause of all the poor in '93:
The cause of all the world at Waterloo:
The shouts of what was terrible and free
Behind the guns of Vengeance and her crew:
The Maid that rode so straightly and so true
And broke the line to pieces in her pride —
They had to chuck it up; it wouldn't do;
The Devil didn't like them, and they died.

II

Caesar and Alexander shall agree
That right athwart the world their bugles blew:
And all the lads that marched in Lombardy
Behind the young Napoleon charging through:
All that were easy swordsmen, all that slew
The Monsters, and that served our God and tried
The temper of this world — they lost the clue.
The Devil didn't like them, and they died.

III

You, the strong sons of anger and the sea,
What darkness on the wings of battle flew?
Then the great dead made answer: " Also we
With Nelson found oblivion: Nelson, who
When cheering out of port in spirit grew
To be one purpose with the wind and tide —
Our nameless hulks are sunk and rotted through:
The Devil didn't like us and we died. "

Envoi

Prince, may I venture (since it's only you)
To speak discreetly of The Crucified?
He was extremely unsuccessful too:
The Devil didn't like Him, and He died.
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