The Great War

from Late Songs, an electronic edition

The Recompense

God made a Garden first for Man

Where He and Man might walk together,

Before the bitter days began

And when 'twas always perfect weather;

A Garden full of fruit and flowers,

The butterfly, the bee, the dew;

Man had enough in those sweet bowers

Before the old snake wriggled through.

But when poor Man was driven away,

Hobbled and sad, from those bright portals,

When there was nothing more to say

Between the stript unhappy mortals;

When Eve went shivering in the wind,

With all her sweetness nipt by frost,

God put it into Adam's mind

To build a House; so all's not lost!

'Twas built of clay and wattled boughs.

So comfortable 'twas, the creeping

Out of the rain into their House,

To dream of Eden in their sleeping.

He taught them next to capture Fire,—

The wild sprite of the roaring storm,

And tether him to their desire

Upon a hearthstone bright and warm.

Yet there was something incomplete;

They wept for their remembered blisses;

Till God slipt something wondrous sweet

Betwixt His anger and their kisses:

The Woman shall make Home: He said:

With children, and the hearth-fires burning,

And with her bosom for his bed

My Adam praise Me night and morning.