To an Athlete Dying Young
Housman, A. E. (1859-1936)

  The time you won your town the race
  We chaired you through the market-place;
  Man and boy stood cheering by,
  And home we brought you shoulder-high.

  To-day, the road all runners come,
  Shoulder-high we bring you home,
  And set you at your threshold down,
  Townsman of a stiller town.

  Smart lad, to slip betimes away
  From fields where glory does not stay
  And early though the laurel grows
  It withers quicker than the rose.

  Eyes the shady night has shut
  Cannot see the record cut,
  And silence sounds no worse than cheers
  After earth has stopped the ears;

  Now you will not swell the rout 
  Of lads that wore their honours out,
  Runners whom renown outran
  And the name died before the man.

  So set, before its echoes fade,
  The fleet foot on the sill of shade,
  And hold to the low lintel up
  The still-defended challenge-cup.

  And round that early-laurelled head
  Will flock to gaze the strengthless dead,
  And find unwithered on its curls
  The garland briefer than a girl's.

Immortal Poems of the English Language (Williams)