In this poem a view of opportunity is presented. The recreant or the dreamer complains that he has no real chance. He would succeed, he says, if he had but the implements of success: money, influence, social prestige, and the like. But success lies far less in implements than in the use we make of them.
What one man throws away as useless, another man seizes as the best means of victory at hand. For every one of us the materials for achievement are sufficient. The spirit that prompts us is what ultimately counts.
This I beheld, or dreamed it in a dream:--
There spread a cloud of dust along a plain;
And underneath the cloud, or in it, raged
A furious battle, and men yelled, and swords
Shocked upon swords and shields. A prince’s
Wavered, then staggered backward, hemmed by
A craven hung along the battle’s edge,
And thought, “Had I a sword of keener steel –
That blue blade that the king’s son bears, ---but
Blunt thing --------!” he snapt and flung it from his
and lowering crept away and left the field.
Then came the king’s son, wounded, sore bested,
And weaponless, and saw the broken sword,
Hilt-buried in the dry and trodden sand,
And ran and snatched it, and with battle-shout
Lifted afresh he hewed his enemy down,
And saved a great cause that heroic day.
Edward Rowland Sill