The sword

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by Ella Wheeler Wilcox

Amidst applauding cheers I won a prize.
A cynic watched me, with ironic eyes;
An open foe, in open hatred, sneered;
I cared for neither. Then my friend appeared.
Eager, I listened for his glad ‘Well done.’
But sudden shadow seemed to shroud my sun.
He praised me: yet each slow, unwilling word
Forced from its sheath base Envy’s hidden sword,
Two-edged, it wounded me; but, worst of all,
It thrust my friend down from his pedestal,
And showed him as he was - so small, so small.

 
from Poems of Optimism by Ella Wheeler Wilcox (1919)

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