BETTER to die, where gallant men are dying,"Better to Die" is the first poem in Florence Earle Coates' pamphlet of poetry, Pro Patria (1917), created in support of American involvement in WWI. It was also published in The Unconquered Air (1912) and Poems (1916) Volume I.
Than to live on with them that basely fly:
Better to fall, the soulless Fates defying,
Than unassailed to wander vainly, trying
To turn one's face from an accusing sky!
Days matter not, nor years to the undaunted;
To live is nothing,—but to nobly live!
The poorest visions of the honor-haunted
Are better worth than pleasure-masks enchanted,
And they win life who life for others give.
The planets in their watchful course behold them—
To live is nothing,—but to nobly live!—
For though the Earth with mother-hands remold them,
Though Ocean in his billowy arms enfold them,
They are as gods, who life to others give!
|Pro Patria (1917)|