His Ally

William Rose Benet

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He fought for his soul, and the stubborn fighting
Tried hard his strength.
"One needs seven souls for thin long requiting,"
He said at length.

"Six times have I come where my first hope jeered me
And laughed me to scorn;
But now I fear as I never feared me
To fall forlorn.

"God! when they fight upright and at me
I give them back
Even such blows as theirs that combat me;
But now, alack!

"They fight with the wiles of fiends escaping
And underhand.
Six times, O God, and my wounds are gaping!
I—reel to stand.

"Six battles' span! By this gasping breath,
No pantomime.
'Tis all that I can. I am sick unto death.
And—a seventh time?

"This is beyond all battles' soreness!"
Then his wonder cried:
For Laughter, with shield and steely harness,
Stood up at his side!

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