The Believer’s Prayer On The American War.
And Shekinah of forgiveness on the mercy-seat reclineth ---
Whose throne is in the hearts of those who do not cringe nor falter ---
Who spreadest out the Universe for Thy children’s psalter;
Thou, who art so great as to fill the boundless realms of space,
And yet so gracious as to hear the woes from every place;
O hear, O God! what impious words the men of blood do use,
And how Thy name and character they in blindness abuse.
As a Father, I have pray’d to Thee, all loving, gracious, kind ---
Believing in Thy goodness to the free develop’d mind;
I have learn’d that brotherhood entwineth Christ with earth,
And where the spangle cushions, there cometh heaven to dearth.
I have not look’d upon Thee as the Jove of bloody fame,
Nor mix’d Mars sacrifice with scalps hanging round Thy name;
The bayonet, sword, and cannon, with all their bloody gore,
But, Father, now the Priests take up Thy ever blessed name,
And wrong Thy loving kindness – Thy attributes defame.
They thank Thee for the blood that’s shed – they ask that love may wane,
And wreathe a gory chaplet for the altars of their fane.
Ten thousand fall in battle, and as water streams the blood;
Our teachers take Thy name in vain, calling the slaughter good;
Father, art Thou like unto this – or are our teachers blind?
That glory in the murdering curse, then seek Thy face to find.
If thou art thus, then I am wrong to bow to Thee in prayer,
Since mercy always shadowest Thy all existence there:
If it be true, I cannot love Thee – though the fate of woe be mine,
I dare not so blaspheme Thee – for the human soul is Thine.
I kneel once more – I pray to Thee – I throw the curse aside,
Triumphant, call Thee merciful – such mocking lies deride.
Thy children dwell beneath Thy smiles – Thou givest not the strife
Which madness calleth victory, for thou hast given life.