Two Sides of the Medal

'I will into the world, I will make me a name,
I will fight for truth, I will fight for fame, 
    I will win pure love, and when I die
    The world shall praise me worthily.'

He entered the world—he fought for fame,
They twined him the thorny wreath of shame. 
    I met him once more, full suddenly,
    His face was seamed with misery.

'Have you fought for truth? Have you worked in vain?
Have you gained pure love without stain? 
    Is your name yet great? Will it ever be?
    Are you praised of all men, worthily?'

He did not answer—he did not speak.
But waited awhile with a reddened cheek. 
    Then trembling, faltering, and looking down—
    Good Heavens, he asked me for half-a-crown.