When Battle Flags Are Furled

Battle Flag of the Army of Northern Virginia above the Confederate Monument on the grounds of the South Carolina State House.
Battle Flag of the Army of Northern Virginia above the Confederate Monument on the grounds of the South Carolina State House.

THERE IS NO FAILURE.

There is no failure! Life itself is a song
Of victory or death, and ages long
Have told the story of the triumph wrought
Unending from things once held for naught.
The battle’s o’er; though defeated now,
In coming time the waiting world shall bow
Before the throne of truth that’s builded high
Above the dust of those who lie
All heedless of the glorious fight they won
When death obscured the light in victory’s sun.

There is no failure! If we could but see
Beyond the battle line, if we could be
Where battle smoke does ne’er becloud the eye,
Then we should know that where these prostrate lie,
Accoutered in habiliments of death,
Sweet freedom’s radiant form has drawn new breath
The breath of life which they so nobly gave
Shall swell anew above the lowly grave
And give new life and hope to hearts that beat
Like battle drums that never sound retreat.

There is no failure! God’s immortal plan
Accounts no loss a lesson learned for man.
Defeat is oft the discipline we need
To save us from the wrong or, teaching, heed
To errors which would else more deeply cost.
A lesson learned is ne’er a battle lost
Whene’er the cause is right; be not afraid.
Defeat is then but victory delayed,
And e’en the greatest victories of the world
Are won when battle flags are furled.

— Thomas Speed Mosby in Baltimore Southern Methodist, 3 February 1910.

Author: Christian Clay Columba Campbell

Christian Clay Columba Campbell is a Roman Catholic of the Anglican Use. As Senior Warden of the Cathedral of the Incarnation (Orlando, FL), he organised the process by which the parish accepted the Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum coetibus, petitioning to join the Catholic Church. The Anglican Cathedral is now the Church of the Incarnation in the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter. Personal queries should be directed to me at eccentricbliss dot com.

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