Edmund Vance Cooke

Canadian-American poet

Edmund Vance Cooke (June 5, 1866 – December 18, 1932) was a Canadian poet.


  • Did you tackle that trouble that came your way
      With a resolute heart and cheerful?
    Or hide your face from the light of day
      With a craven soul and fearful?
    Oh, a trouble's a ton, or a trouble's an ounce,
      Or a trouble is what you make it,
    And it isn't the fact that you're hurt that counts,
      But only how did you take it?
    You are beaten to earth? Well, well, what's that?
      Come up with a smiling face.
    It's nothing against you to fall down flat,
      But to lie there—that's disgrace.
    The harder you're thrown, why the higher you bounce;
      Be proud of your blackened eye!
    It isn't the fact that you're licked that counts,
      It's how did you fight—and why?
    And though you be done to the death, what then?
      If you battled the best you could,
    If you played your part in the world of men,
      Why, the Critic will call it good.
    Death comes with a crawl, or comes with a pounce,
      And whether he's slow or spry,
    It isn't the fact that you're dead that counts,
      But only how did you die?
    • "How Did You Die?" in Impertinent Poems (New York: Dodge, 1907)
  • The man who fears to go his way alone,
      But follows where the greater number tread,
    Should hasten to his rest beneath a stone;
      The great majority of men are dead.
    • "Requiescat in Pace" in A Patch of Pansies (New York: G.P. Putnam's Sons, 1894)

A Triplet of Quatrains

  • To deftly do what many dimly think;
      To fund a feeling for the world to borrow;
    To turn a tear to printer’s ink;
      To make a sonnet of a sorrow.
    • I. Poetry
  • This trouble seems to be
      Chief in theology:
    Each thinks the hymn should be,—
      Nearer, my God, to Thee.
    • II. Ego-Theism
  • The rake upon a wanton wastes the wiles
      Which dazzle innocence.
    The nettle guards itself; the lily smiles
      Unheedful of defence.
    • III. The Mystery of Evil
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