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Thy aim, thy aim?
'Mid the dust dearth and din,
An exception wouldst win
By some deed shall ignite the acclaim?
Then beware, and prepare thee
Lest Envy ensnare thee,
And yearning be sequelled by shame.
But strive bravely on, yet on and yet on,
Let the goal be won;
Then if, living, you kindle a flame,
Your guerdon will be but a flower,
Only a flower,
The flower of repute,
A flower cut down in an hour.
But repute, if this be too tame,
And, dying, you truly ennoble a name—
Again but a flower!
Only a flower,
A funeral flower,
A blossom of Dis from Proserpine's bower—
The belated funeral flower of fame.