Around 1600, in one of his many sonnets, Shakespeare wrote "the famous warrior with a thousand victories is quickly removed from the record books when he suffers his first loss".
Bill S also penned that after Caesar's murder Mark Antony said "The evil that men do lives after them; the good is oft interred with their bones".
The Tall Poppy Syndrome is now standard fare. Unfortunately, because of the increasing prevalence of moral indignation and taking offence at minor sleights, we find that mediocracy is now embraced as the norm by the bleeding heart and malleable media brigades.
Daily we read new conspiracy theories running down the achievements of Gallileo, Jefferson, Churchill and their ilk.
The world needs great people achieving great things rather than conformists who crave popularity.
Two examples of the type of person required today are the exemplary man portrayed in Roosevelt's "The Man in the Arena" and "Bill", the subject of Lawson's wonderful poem, who was despised by the wowsers because he drank, smoked, fought and loved, but was the bloke who jumped in the river to save a drowning child; gave his lifejacket to a woman as the ship was sinking and kept the enemy at bay while his mates made good their escape.
What the world desperately needs is more leaders like Bill and less sanctimonious apologists.
Ross Holborow, Smithtown