He saw there was no choice to left or right--
Time that had marked him for the least of sages
Pointed the hour, and several blotted pages
Stood witness to the struggle in the night.
Behind him lay a happiness that might
Have made him shine a figure through the ages;
Before him loomed a toiling at mean wages,
Alternative to sinking out of sight.
This much was sure--he never need retrace;
The leagues that he had travelled were an ending.
There wound no footpath to a sunlit place,
Where he might nurse his dreams, with peace attending.
No promised joy would quicken the day's pace,
Nor write the past a blunder still worth mending.