Nationalism/The Sunset of the Century

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Nationalism by Rabindranath Tagore
The Sunset of the Century

THE SUNSET OF THE CENTURY

THE SUNSET OF THE CENTURY

(Written in the Bengali on the last day of last century)

The last sun of the century sets amidst the blood-
red clouds of the West and the whirlwind of
hatred.
The naked passion of self-love of Nations, in its
drunken delirium of greed, is dancing to the
clash of steel and the howling verses of
vengeance.

The hungry self of the Nation shall burst in a
violence of fury from its own shameless
feeding.
For it has made the world its food,
And licking it, crunching it, and swallowing it in
big morsels,
It swells and swells

Till in the midst of its unholy feast descends the
sudden shaft of heaven piercing its heart of
grossness.

The crimson glow of light on the horizon is not the
light of thy dawn of peace, my Motherland.
It is the glimmer of the funeral pyre burning to
ashes the vast flesh,—the self-love of the
Nation,—dead under its own excess.
Thy morning waits behind the patient dark of the
East,
Meek and silent.

Keep watch, India.
Bring your offerings of worship for that sacred
sunrise.
Let the first hymn of its welcome sound in your
voice, and sing,
"Come, Peace, thou daughter of God's own great
suffering.
Come with thy treasure of contentment, the sword
of fortitude,
And meekness crowning thy forehead."

Be not ashamed, my brothers, to stand before the
proud and the powerful
With your white robe of simpleness.
Let your crown be of humility, your freedom the
freedom of the soul.
Build God's throne daily upon the ample bare-
ness of your poverty
And know that what is huge is not great and pride
is not everlasting.