The Lost Leader
by Robert Browning
Just for a handful of silver he left us,
Just for a riband to stick in his coat—
Found the one gift of which fortune bereft us,
Lost all the others she lets us devote;
They, with the gold to give, doled him out silver,
So much was theirs who so little allowed:
How all our copper had gone for his service!
Rags — were they purple, his heart had been proud!
We that had loved him so, followed him, honoured him,
Lived in his mild and magnificent eye,
Learned his great language, caught his clear accents,
Made him our pattern to live and to die!
Shakespeare was of us, Milton was for us,
Burns, Shelley, were with us—they watch from their graves!
He alone breaks from the van and the freemen
— He alone sinks to the rear and the slaves!
We shall march prospering—not through his presence;
Songs may inspirit us—not from his lyre;
Deeds will be done—While he boasts his quiescence,
Still bidding crouch whom the rest bade aspire:
Blot out his name, then, record one lost soul more,
One task more declined, one more footpath untrod,
One more devils'-triumph and sorrow for angels,
One wrong more to man, one more insult to God!
Life's night begins: let him never come back to us!
There would be doubt, hesitation and pain,
Forced praise on our part—the glimmer of twilight,
Never glad confident morning again!
Best fight on well, for we taught him—strike gallantly,
Menace our heart ere we master his own;
Then let him receive the new knowledge and wait us,
Pardoned in heaven, the first by the throne!
布朗宁（Robert Browning, 1812-1889）英国诗人，剧作家。
华德务茨（William Wordsworth, 1770-1850）曾是英国思想界及文坛领袖，为当时的少年一代所崇敬。到了晚年接受政府“桂冠诗人”的荣衔，拿了当权者的钱，言词就大不相同了。跟从他的年轻人都非常失望。
本诗作者布朗宁，比他年轻四十二岁，为他哀伤，作了悼诗，题为“失落的领袖”（“The Lost Leader”）。为了名与利失去了理想，不仅是一个人的失败。