Fifes and Drums/The Binding of the Beast

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He plotted in the den of his lordship over men;
He wrought his grim array and he hungered for the Day.
Then the loosing-word was spoken; then the seal of Hell was broken;
Then its Princes were assembled for the feast;
But against the Vandal night rose the star of Freedom's light,
And a world was called together for the binding of the Beast.

They have seen it for their star; they have come from near and far;
From the forges of the North go the men and young men forth,
Having found the holier duty, found the true, the final beauty,
As their brothers of the South and of the East.
In the forests of the West they have given of their best,
With strong hands and patient for the binding of the Beast.

For his treason unto man in the War that he began,
For the rapine and the flame, for the hissing of his name,
Have the hosts gone up against him and with swords of judgment fenced him,
With his coward clutch on woman and on priest.
For the children he has maimed, for the maidens he has shamed,
The nations gird their harness for the binding of the Beast.

Now frothing in his rage, a scourge to youth and age,
Caked with blood he stands at bay, with his feet upon his prey.
Ringed with surf of guns resounding, raw and fetid from the hounding,
Smites he still in baffled fury and the roar of hate releast;
But the huntsmen of the ranks, with their steel at breast and flanks,
Give no truce nor sign of respite at the binding of the Beast.

He is cunning, he is strong, and the war shall yet be long,
Where the seven thunders wake and the walls of heaven shake.
He is cruel, blind and ruthless; he is boastful, sly and truthless;
By his will the Powers of Darkness are increast;
But the shackle and the chain shall avenge the hurt and slain,
Who have broken bread with heroes at the binding of the Beast.

For his pact with Death and Hell, let us bind the monster well,
That the world go free indeed from his arrogance and greed!
By the pact he dared to sever make we treaty with him never,
Till the murder-venom in his blood has ceast!
By his trust in force and war, end we those forevermore,
As the nations sit in council for the binding of the Beast!

George Sterling.