The time you won your town the raceWe chaired you through the market-place;Man and boy stood cheering by,And home we brought you shoulder-high.
To-day, the road all runners come,Shoulder-high we bring you home,And set you at your threshold down,Townsman of a stiller town.
Smart lad, to slip betimes awayFrom fields where glory does not stayAnd early though the laurel growsIt withers quicker than the rose.
Eyes the shady night has shutCannot see the record cut,And silence sounds no worse than cheersAfter earth has stopped the ears:
Now you will not swell the routOf lads that wore their honours out,Runners whom renown outranAnd the name died before the man.
So set, before its echoes fade,The fleet foot on the sill of shade,And hold to the low lintel upThe still-defended challenge-cup.
And round that early-laurelled headWill flock to gaze the strengthless dead,And find unwithered on its curlsThe garland briefer than a girl's.