BETA

Until the Day dawn.

Silence and Night were alone in the forest ; afar was the sound
of the sea,
1
That moaned on its shores with a presage low of the storm about
to be :
2
The dark clouds drooped like banners of death, and the tops of
the tall trees bowed ;
3
For a wind came forth, and after the wind a Voice, from the
midst of the cloud.
4
And the stars went out, and the forest trembled, knowing the
Voice of God ;
5
And He cried :6
Is this well that thou doest, O Man ?  Did I
make thee a shedder of blood ?
7
I gave thee the Earth and the fruits thereof, the sun and the
wind and the rain ;
8
Child and wife to thy bosom : have these My gifts been given
in vain ?
9
I gave thee the breath and the beauty of dawn, the service and
splendour of day ;
10
The seed and the sap of thy thought, and the skill of thy
fashioning hands that obey :
11
I gave thee the strength of the morning, and wrought thee the
curtains of darkness deep
12
To fold over labour and patience and pleasure the sweetness and
solace of sleep.
13
But My dawns are red with the shame of the flame that thy
passions have kindled and fed,
14
And My Earth cries aloud unto Me from her hills and her plains
with their burden of dead.
15
Lo, where is the joy of the harvest ?  My seasons have nourished
the growth of the grain,
16
Yet the garners are empty. But Death has garnered his harvest
of terror and pain.
17
For the songs of thy labour are turned into thunder and clamour
and clash of the fight ;
18
Thou takest no joy from the glory of day, no enfolding of peace
from the night :
19
Thy wife and the child that I gave thee are heavy with mourning
and wasted with tears,
20
And the power and strength of thy manhood is lavished and lost
at the crown of thy years.
21
Art thou weary of light and of gladness ?  Desirest thou blood-
shed and darkness of death ?
22
Arise now and answer, O Man whom I made in My likeness and
filled with My breath.”
23
Then the night gathered back into silence. But, fainting, there
passed on the wind as it went
24
An infinite murmur of anguish and pain, irretrievable loss and
lament ;
25
Till a curse clove it sharply asunder and flung up a challenge of
wrath fierce and bold :—
26
Judge Thou! Is it we who have pandered to power ?  Is it we
who have grasped after gold?
27
As sheep we were driven to slaughter, our eyes have been dazzled
and blinded with lies :
28
Judge Thou ; are we guilty, that knew not ?  The curse be on
those who have played for the prize.
29
Judge Thou ! ”30
The storm burst on the forest ; the wild-beating
fury and blast of the rain,
31
The roar of the wind in the trees, were as voices of Earth in her
passion and pain ;
32
The quick, jaggèd spear of the lightning flashed forth from the
terror and gloom of the sky,
33
And the thunder rolled far to the end of the heavens its sullen
and angry reply.
34
Then, slowly, the night gathered silence again, with sighs for
delight of release ;
35
The stars in their places shone forth, and the breath of the wind
was as healing and peace :
36
sAnd there rose in the darkness a song,—on the wings of the
wind it swept loftily by,—
37
While the trees waved as banners of triumph before the un-
clouded clear arch of the sky.
38
Thou gavest us life, and we loved it ; yet went with the gift of
our life in our hand ;
39
And our blood has baptised to a life that is newer and stronger
the length of the land.
40
We gave it for Freedom, and freely ; nor feared we the sure shaft
of death when it came ;
41
We were shedders of blood, we were givers of blood: we are
sharers of glory—not shame.
42
Oh, sweet were the dawn and the day! and the strength of our
manhood was joyous as wine ;
43
And the light of the eyes that we loved was more lovely when
tears made their tenderness shine:
44
But the voice that had called us was stronger than these,—
perchance though we knew not its name ;—
45
But we knew there were those that must yield up their lives ;
and we counted it glory—not shame !”
46
Then the silence sank down like a dove in the heart of the forest,
that waited and kept
47
The long, solemn watches of night.48
And at last came an answer :
The eyes that have wept
49
Shall be lightened, the bruised shall be healed, and the people
shall lift up their faces again,
50
And the songs of their love and their labour be heard ; and the
Earth shall be cleansed from her slain.
51
The word of My promise is sure ; I have spoken ; I change not,
nor fail, nor forget :
52
For the thunders of War shall be hushed, and the Earth shall
learn Peace. But the time is not yet.”
53
So the Night, with the voice of its storm, and the clouds and the
darkness passed slowly away ;
54
And the Dawn softly stirred in the Eat, and came forth in the
glow of her glorious array.
55
And the heart of the world, that had slept, woke and beat ; and
God blessed it, and gave a New Day.
56