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Elegy for Matheric
I am not a hero whose song will be sung
in the courts of the kings or the common.
No horn will recall me, no bell will be rung
To remember the name or the deeds done.
Me, I shall not call who forgets me unkind,
Still not void were my deeds of some glory;
But the skalds sing of names, feats more glorious than mine,
and of men more deserving a story.

Nor am I a hero whose tale will be told
As a captain of men and a leader;
Though I was no traitor, nor was I less bold
Than the least of my company's soldiers.
For the duty I served, but to country, not kings.
Not to lead men to war my desire:
I desired not the glory but more worldly things,
To return to fields, home and hearth-fire.

Yes, I'm not a hero whose lay will remind
every soldier of duty and vows said.
And together with unnumbered brothers in kind
Will I die an unsung and untold death.
When the last flag has flown, when the last grave is laid,
when the last boat has left I will rest true:
Ever nameless I was, and now nameless I fade
When the last who remembers me fades too.
 
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