A Sonnet of Battle

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RELUCTANT Morn, whose meagre radiance lies  
 With doubtful glimmer on the farthest hills,  
 How long shall men, reiterant of their ills,  
With peevish invocation bid thee rise  
To burn to noontide glory in the skies  
 That now a gloom perplexed and starless fills,  
 And seek from thee and not their own strong wills  
That perfect good which is not bought with sighs?  
Why weep and wait for thee, though laggard, Morn,  
 With all thy joys of love and peace and light?  
For us the mightier joy that rives the soul,  
When, slaves no longer to a day unborn,  
Our flag of war along the dark we unroll  
 For fell encounter with the hosts of Night.

© William Gay