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Slowly she opened her eyes to the light,
Faintly she murmured, “Killed outright !
Aļas, and he was my only son ;
But the will of the Lord, let it be done!”
God pity the cheerless Widow Gray,
And the light of His peace illumine her way!
Peace! Peace! God of our fathers, grant us Peace!
Unto our cry of anguish and despair
Give ear and pity! From the lonely homes,
Where widowed beggary and orphaned woe
Fill their poor urns with tears; from trampled plains,
Where the bright harvest Thou hast sent us rots--
The blood of them, who should have garnered it,
Calling to Thee—from fields of carnage, where
The foul-beaked vultures, sated, flap their wings
O’er crowded corpses, that but yesterday
Bore hearts of brothers, beating high with love
And common hopes and pride; all blasted now--
Father of Mercies! not alone from these
Our prayer and wail are lifted. Not alone
Upon the battle's seared and desolate track,
Nor with the sword and flame, is it, O God !
That Thou hast smitten us. Around our hearths,
And in the crowded streets and busy marts,
Where echo whispers not the far-off strife
That slays our loved ones; in the solemn halls
Of safe and quiet counsel-nay, beneath
The temple-roofs that we have reared to Thee,
And 'mid their rising incense, God of Peace !
The curse of war is on us. Greed and hate,
Hungering for gold and blood: Ambition, bred
Of passionate vanity and sordid lusts,
Mad with the base desire of tyrannous sway
Over, men's souls and thoughts, have set their price
On human hecatombs, and sell and buy
Their sons and brothers for the shambles. Priests,
With white, anointed, supplicating hands,
From Sabbath unto Sabbath clasped to Thee,
Burn, in their tingling pulses, to fling down
Thy censers and Thy cross to clutch the throats
Of kinsmen by whose cradles they were born,
Or grasp the brand of Herod, and go forth
Till Rachel hath no children left to slay.
The very name of Jesus, writ upon
Thy shrines, beneath the spotless, outstretched wings
Of Thine Almighty Dove, is wrapt and hid
With bloody battle-flags, and from the spires
That rise above them, angry banners flout
The skies to which they point, amid the clang
Of rolling war-songs, tuned to mock Thy praise.
All things once prized and honored are forgot. The Freedom that we worshiped, next to Thee;
The manhood that was Freedom's spear and shield;
The proud, true heart; the brave, out-spoken word,
Which might be stifled, but could never wear
The guise, whate'er the profit, of a lie-
All these are gone, and in their stead, have come
The vices of the miser and the slave,
Scorning no shame that bringeth gold or power,
Knowing no love, or faith, or reverence,
Or sympathy, or tie, or aim, or hope,
Save as begun in self, and ending there.
With vipers like to these, O blessed God!
Scourge us no longer! Send us down, once more,
Some shining seraph in Thy glory clad,
To wake the midnight of our sorrowing
With tidings of Good Will and Peace to men:
And if the star that through the darkness led
Earth's wisdom then, guide not our folly now!
Oh, be the lightning Thine Evangelist,
With all its fiery, forkèd tongues, to speak
The unanswerable message of Thy will.
Peace! Peace! God of our fathers, grant us Peace! Peace in our hearts and at Thine altars; Peace On the red waters and their blighted shores; Peace for the leaguered cities, and the hosts
That watch and bleed, around them and within;
Peace for the homeless and the fatherless;
Peace for the captive on his weary way,
And the mad crowds who jeer his helplessness.
For them that suffer, them that do the wrong;
Sinning and sinned against-O God! for all-
For a distracted, torn, and bleeding land-
Speed the glad tidings! Give us, give us Peace!