“Arouse! Fight on! Combat and conquer;
Evil are the forces.”
I have struggled and am tired
Of this road embriared;
Let things take their courses.
I have fought and got no gain;
Toiled and been passed by
By all save wound and pain;
Others work and take their joy;
Now, stern comrade, so shall I,
Sick, sick, of thy endless employ.
Shall I never know pleasure?
Never know rest from strain?
Let me sail a sea of azure
Wave on wave of pleasure
Turn from treading this path of rocks
With no drug for bruise save its stain.
Give me rest for I am tired;
Nor ask me how I reconcile
My coward’s choice of pleasured ease
with ideals that once inspired.
Comrade conscience, cease thy talk—
Your part but talk as mine was strife—
While I do take this flowered walk
And dally with sweet soft things alluring.
Rested mayhap, I’ll resume thy hard life
Of search, stern comrade, for things enduring.
John Dewey, To Conscience, Lyric Poems, No. 43