Here’s to "The days that might have been";
Here’s to "The life I might have led";
The fame I might have gathered in—
The glory ways I might have sped.
Great "Might Have Been," I drink to you
Upon a throne where thousands hail—
And then—there looms another view—
I also "might have been" in jail.
O "Land of Might Have Been," we turn
With aching hearts to where you wait;
Where crimson fires of glory burn,
And laurel crowns the guarding gate;
We may not see across your fields
The sightless skulls that knew their woe—
The broken spears—the shattered shields—
That "might have been" as truly so.
"Of all sad words of tongue or pen"—
So wails the poet in his pain—
The saddest are, "It might have been,"
And world-wide runs the dull refrain.
The saddest? Yes—but in the jar
This thought brings to me with its curse,
I sometimes think the gladdest are
"It might have been a blamed sight worse."
From "The Sportlight."