Thursday, November 6, 2008

For Those In Sorrow . . .

Contemporary Note: Honesty and the opening line compel me to mention that I wrote this four years ago. But if you're a conservative and in mourning, then this applies as surely to you now as it did to me then. I wish you -- and the Republic -- all the best.

Dear All:

Because you are intelligent men, I reckon the odds are good that your candidate lost in yesterday’s election. So how do you cope? Well, the mature respond, despite everything you were told as children, with bitterness and self-pity. And how better to wallow in bitterness and self-pity than with poetry?

Today’s poem was penned by Miss Neurosis of 1886, the Belle of Amherst and favorite poet of high-school girls everywhere (but we must forgive her that), Emily Dickinson. As follows.

Success is Counted Sweetest
by Emily Dickinson

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 to-day
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.

And the primary virtue of this poem, class? That’s right. Clarity. Followed shortly by concision. It’s short enough to memorize and if you do, you can someday throw it in the face of some gloating bastard and make him feel like the subhuman toad he is.

Not that I would I encourage such uncivil behavior, mind you.

All best,


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