Verse > Anthologies > Louis Untermeyer, ed. > Modern American Poetry
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Louis Untermeyer, ed. (1885–1977). Modern American Poetry.  1919.
 
William Rose Benét. 1886–
 
117. His Ally
 
HE fought for his soul, and the stubborn fighting 
          Tried hard his strength. 
"One needs seven souls for thin long requiting," 
          He said at length. 
  
"Six times have I come where my first hope jeered me         5
          And laughed me to scorn; 
But now I fear as I never feared me 
          To fall forlorn. 
  
"God! when they fight upright and at me 
          I give them back  10
Even such blows as theirs that combat me; 
          But now, alack! 
  
"They fight with the wiles of fiends escaping 
          And underhand. 
Six times, O God, and my wounds are gaping!  15
          I—reel to stand. 
  
"Six battles' span! By this gasping breath, 
          No pantomime. 
'Tis all that I can. I am sick unto death. 
          And—a seventh time?  20
  
"This is beyond all battles' soreness!" 
          Then his wonder cried: 
For Laughter, with shield and steely harness, 
          Stood up at his side! 
 
 
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