War is destructive, wasteful, brutal! Yet
The energies of men are brought to play.
And hidden valor by occasion met
Leaps to the light as precious jewels may
When earthquakes rend the rock.
The stress and strain
Of war stirs men to do their worst and best.
Heroes are forged on anvils hot with pain
And splendid courage comes but with the test.
Some natures ripen, and some virtues bloom,
Only in blood-wet soil; some souls prove great
Only in moments dark with death or doom.
This is the sad historic jest which Fate
Flings to the world, recurring time on time--
Many must fall, that one may seem sublime.
By Ella Wheeler Wilcox
Cosmopolitan 25 (August 1898): 462.
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