The Great War

from Great Poems of the World War, an electronic edition

The Twilight OF The Gods

HO! Heimdal sounds the Gjallar-horn:

The hosts of Hel rush forth

And Fenris rages redly

From his shackles in the North

Unleashed is Garm, and Lok is loosed,

And freed is Giant Rime;

The Rainbow-bridge is broken

By the hordes of Muspelheim.

The wild Valkyries ride the wind

With spear and clanging shield

Where all the Hates embattled

Are met on Vigrid-field;

For there shall fall the Mighty Ones

By valiant men adored--

Great Odin, Tyr the fearless,

And Frey that sold his sword. .

And Thor shall slay the dragon

Whose breath shall be his bane.

The gods themselves shall perish:

The sons of the gods shall reign!

Old Time shall sound the boding horn

Again and yet again, rouse the warring passions

That swell the hearts of men.

Revolt shall wake, and Anarchy,

With all their horrid throng--

Revenge, Destruction Rapine,

The spawn of ancient Wrong,

With all the hosts of slaughter

That our own sins must breed-

Cold Hate, Oppression's daughter,

And Rage, the child of Greed.

Then, though we stand to battle

As men have ever stood,

Down, down shall crash our temples,

The Evil and the Good;

Yea, all that now we cherish

Must pass--but not in vain.

The gods we love shall perish;

The sons of the gods shall reign!

So, strong in faith, or weak in doubt,

Or berserk-mad, we range

Our spears in that long battle

Which means not Death, but Change.

Our highest with our lowest

Must own the grim behest,

And Good shall yield for Better--

Else how should come the Best?

Yet if we win our portion

How dare we crave the whole?

And if we still press forward,

Why need we know the goal?

But those whose hearts are constant

And those whose souls are wise

Have said that from our ashes .

A nobler race shall rise

From shreds of shattered altars

To rear the Perfect Fane.

Our little gods must perish

That God I himself shall reign!