Carmen Deific

CARMEN DEIFIC.

I .

Awake, awake, ye Nations, now the Lord of Hosts goes by!
Sing ye His praise, O happy souls, who smile beneath the sky!
Join in the song, O martyr'd ones, where'er ye droop and die!
The Lord goes marching on!

'Mid tramp and clangour of the winds and clash of clouds that meet,
He passeth on His way and treads the Lost beneath His feet;
His legions are the winged Storms that follow fast and fleet
Their Master marching on!

From battlefield to battlefield He wends in royal array,
Dead worlds are strewn like wither'd leaves on His triumphal way,
The new Suns blossom at His touch, the old spent Suns grow grey;
Their Lord goes marching on!

His eyes are blind with their own Light, He knows not where He goes,
The Day before, the Night behind, with all its wails and woes,
And ever more on foul and fair His glory overflows
As He goes marching on!

He is the Sea without a bound, for ever strong and free,
Lord of the worlds that break like waves, and every wave is He.
He is the foam that flies and falls and yet He is the Sea
For ever rolling on!

He could not if He would turn back and listen to thy prayer,
He could not if He would dispel the clouds of thy despair. —
Impotent in omnipotence He wends He knows not where.
For ever marching on!

He hath no time to pause a space and look upon thy Dead,
How should He heed the living dust He crushes 'neath His tread?
Blind, deaf, and dumb, He heareth not when prayer or curse is said,
But still goes marching on!

Awake, awake, ye Nations, now the Lord of Hosts goes by!
Sing ye His praise, O happy ones, who round His chariot fly.
Join in the song, if so ye list, ye Lost, who droop and die, —
The Lord goes marching on!

II .

Out of the dust beneath His tread,
Ashes and dust beneath His train,
Dust and earth of the living-dead.
Rises this ant-heap of Rome again!
Tower and turret and palace-dome,
Mart and temple, arise once more ...
Where is the glory that once was Rome?
Where are the laurels its Caesars wore?

Quickens the dust to a human cry,
Ashes and dust take shape and form,
Once again as the Lord goes by
Ashes are living and dust is warm.
Crowds to our insect cities come,
Legions of ants increase their store ...
Where is the glory that once was Rome?
Where are the laurels its Caesars wore?

Empire fair as any of old,
Proud it stands in the rosy light!
For crumbs of bread and morsels of gold
Its people struggle from morn to night,
Seize their plunder and carry it home,
Slay each other like folks of yore, —
So they slew in that other Rome
Plucking the laurels the Caesars wore!

A little while and a little life —
A little life and an endless rest —
An endless rest to the fever'd strife
Of atoms heedlessly ban'd or blest!
Others have made this clod their home,
Lived and vanished through Death's dark door ...
Where is the glory that once was Rome?
Where are the laurels the Caesars wore?

III .

" How long, my love," she whisper'd.
" How long shall it be, —
The light upon the mountain-tops,
The sunlight on the sea?
For ever and for ever,
Or only for a day?"
He drew her gently to him
And kiss'd her tears away —
" Perchance, dear love, for ever,
Perchance for a day!"

" How long, my love," she whisper'd,
" How long shall it be, —
The joy that thrills across the earth
And mingles you and me?
For ever and for ever,
Too sweet to pass away?"
He sigh'd, " If not for ever,
At least for a day!
So heart to heart, my darling,
If only for a day!"

IV .

Stand up, Ephemeron!
This hour at least is thine, though it must fly!
So waste it not by gazing at the sky
With eyes so woe-begone!

Thou shalt be dust anon,
Who now art rapture and a living thing!
Grasping what gifts the winged moments bring,
Rejoice, Ephemeron!

Increase, Ephemeron!
Thou hast a time to quicken in delight,
And after thee shall others no less bright
Follow, when thou art gone!

Be proud and buckle on
Thy pigmy armour and thine insect mail!
Strive with thy kind, and, though a thousand fall,
Emerge, Ephemeron!

V .

If I were a God like you, and you were a man like me,
If from a throne omnipotent I ruled all things that be,
Tidings of light and love I'd send as far as thought could fly,
And one great hymn of happiness should sound from sky to sky, —
And on your brow my gentle hand should shed the saving dew.
If you were a man like me, and I were a God like you!

If I were a God like you, and you were a man like me,
And in the dark you prayed and wept and I could hear and see,
The sorrow of your broken heart would darken all my day,
And never peace or pride were mine, till it was smiled away, —
I'd clear my Heaven above your head till all was bright and blue,
If you were a man like me, and I were a God like you!

If I were a God like you, and you were a man like me,
Small need for those my might had made in bend the suppliant knee;
I'd light no lamp in yonder Heaven to fade and disappear,
I'd break no promise to the Soul, yet keep it to the ear!
High as my heart I'd lift my child till all his dreams came true,
If you were a man like me, and I were a God like you!

VI .

A Voice was heard in the night, and it haunts the night for ever,
And these are the words of the Voice that God shall silence never:

" How often, God of the Glad, and God of the Lost, shall I name Thee!
Cursing Thee under breath, too weak to stay Thee or shame Thee!

" Blundering blindly on, with blood and tears for Thy token,
Thou tramplest down the Weak, yea the Strong by Thee are broken!

" Yet still Thy praise is heard, the perishing pray unto Thee, —
And lo! I woke in the night, and smiled for methought I knew Thee!

" I watch'd Thy sacrifice flame up, and I did not falter,
Though the lamb and the little child were offered up on the Altar!

" I praised Thy Day and Thy Night, Thy manifold works and wonders.
Thy purpose gladden'd my soul, O God of a million blunders!

" From failure on to failure I saw Thy Light progressing,
I felt the lash of Thy Law, yet knelt to entreat Thy blessing.

" Thou hast not spared Thy dearest, Thy best beloved Thou art slaying,
Thine ears are shut to the prayers of Thy Saints, yet lo, I am praying!

" I fear Thee, God of the Night, for Thy Silence hath overcome me,
I hear the wails of the souls Thy Night hath taken from me.

" Darkness shrouds Thy feet, and darkness Thy Face is veiling —
Shepherd, 'tis dark all round, and Thou comest not to our wailing!"

This Voice was heard in the Night, and the Lord shall still it never!
For those are the words of the Voice that cries in the Night for ever!
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