No Enemies

Years ago I ran across a poem by Charles Mackay. Finding it was entirely incidental – I was in grade school, I think, and it happened to be photocopied from the same page as Invicitus; the poem we were actually studying.

Nonetheless, the poem stuck with me:

You have no enemies, you say?
Alas! my friend, the boast is poor;
He who has mingled in the fray
Of duty, that the brave endure,
Must have made foes! If you have none,
Small is the work that you have done.
You’ve hit no traitor on the hip,
You’ve dashed no cup from perjured lip,
You’ve never turned the wrong to right,
You’ve been a coward in the fight.

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