Say Not the Struggle.

We used to infuse things like this into our kid’s heads. When we did, America was vigorous, strong and even-keeled.

Now, we teach them the inside-out verses of Howard Zinn, and scare them with tales of a dying, overheated  planet. We teach them that life is an Eminem song.  

And we get the corresponding behaviors.

But here is “Say not the struggle” read by Paul Scofield:

Say not the struggle naught availeth,
     The labour and the wounds are vain,
The enemy faints not, nor faileth,
     And as things have been, things remain.

If hopes were dupes, fears may be liars;
     It may be, in yon smoke concealed,
Your comrades chase e’en now the fliers,
     And, but for you, possess the field.

For while the tired waves, vainly breaking,
     Seem here no painful inch to gain,
Far back through creeks and inlets making
     Comes silent, flooding in, the main.

And not by eastern windows only,
     When daylight comes, comes in the light,
In front the sun climbs slow, how slowly,
     But westward, look, the land is bright.

This reminiscent of Churchill’s “Never give in” speech. He gave that speech at a boy’s school, a very few months after the Battle of Britain had been won. The matter had been in  doubt. Britain stood alone at the Hot Gates, protecting civilization. She was unprepared, militarily weak, and in a state of shock from Hitler’s lightning war. She stood alone against the most powerfully barbaric force the world had ever seen.  But she prevailed – somehow. Civilization was saved from an unimaginably perverse fate.

 He told the young men:

…surely from this period of ten months, this is the lesson:

Never give in. Never give in. Never, never, never, never–in nothing, great or small, large or petty–never give in, except to convictions of honor and good sense. Never yield to force. Never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.

We stood all alone a year ago, and to many countries it seemed that our account was closed, we were finished. All this tradition of ours, our songs, our School history, this part of the history of this country, were gone and finished and liquidated.

Very different is the mood today. Britain, other nations thought, had drawn a sponge across her slate. But instead our country stood in the gap. There was no flinching and no thought of giving in; and by what seemed almost a miracle to those outside these Islands, though we ourselves never doubted it, we now find ourselves in a position where I say that we can be sure that we have only to persevere to conquer.

You sang here a verse of a School Song…””Not less we praise in darker days”

Do not let us speak of darker days: let us speak rather of sterner days. These are not dark days; these are great days–the greatest days our country has ever lived; and we must all thank God that we have been allowed, each of us according to our stations, to play a part in making these days memorable in the history of our race.

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