Arthur Hugh Clough (poet): ‘Say not the struggle naught availeth’

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In June 2012, newly-elected MP and National League for Democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi quoted from this poem in an address to both Houses of Parliament in London. The poem was also used by Churchill to encourage America to join with Britain in World War 2.

The poem is by Arthur Hugh Clough (1819-1861) and is read by Tom O’Bedlam in his SpokenVerse channel on Youtube, with hundreds of other poems.

Tom O’Bedlam (Narrator):

Say not the struggle naught availeth,
The labour and the wounds are vain,
The enemy faints not, nor faileth,
And as things have been they remain.

If hopes were dupes, fears may be liars;
It may be, in yon smoke conceal’d,
Your comrades chase e’en now the fliers,
And, but for you, possess the field.

For while the tired waves, vainly breaking,
Seem here no painful inch to gain,
Far back, through creeks and inlets making,
Comes silent, flooding in, the main.

And not by eastern windows only,
When daylight comes, comes in the light;
In front the sun climbs slow, how slowly!
But westward, look, the land is bright!