The Great War

from Great Poems of the World War, an electronic edition

Aceldama

STILL breaks the Holy morn, to soothe the care

And labor of the world; hushed is the grove,

And overhead the vireo's note of love

Floats like a joyful utterance of prayer.

Soft insect murmurs fill the enchanted air.

Into a fairer day earth seems to move,

And statelier thoughts lift mortal sense above

Life's sin and pain; the sorrow and despair.

But hark! where now the noonday beams are shed

In sorrowing Europe, trembles a sound

Of thunder, and the land with dews of blood

Is drenched; while o'er the dying and the dead

Fate turns to weep o'er every pleading wound--

Can earth o'ercome the evil with the good?

But yesterday two monarchs, held in check

Like bloodhounds in the leash, broke forth before

The eyes of Christendom, and in the roar

Of lurid conflict heard not the wild shriek

Of outraged millions--now again the wreck

Of crushed humanity must strew death's shore

With ghastly ruin crying evermore,

"Shame! Wretch of mortal form and vulture's beak--

To ask God's aid and Christ's! 0, hour of woe!

Cover, O night of ages, the dread birth

Of man's Imperial hate! Let kings go down

That peoples way aspire and live and own

A holier stature, and this crimsoned earth

Drink the pure light of Freedom's afterglow!"

Sunday in August, 1914