The reverence of old years
Is gone, which not by battle nor by strife,
Stealing through charmèd ears,
Lifted the people's hearts to love their King;
Gone, yet the land still fears.
For Fortune is a god and rules men's life.
Who knows the great Wheel's swing,
How one is smitten swift in the eyes of light;
For one affliction cries
Slow from the border of sunset; and one lies
In deedless night?
Has Earth once drunk withal
The blood of her child, Man, the avenging stain
Hardens, nor flows again.
A blind pain draweth the slayer, draweth him,
On, on, till he is filled even to the brim
With sickness of the soul to atone for all.
The shrine of maidenhood
Once broken ne'er may be unbroke again.
And where man's life hath flowed,
All the world's rivers in their multitude
Rolling shall strive in vain
To clean from a brother's hand that ancient blood.
For me, God in far days
Laid hand upon my city, and herded me
From my old home to the House of Slavery,
Where all is violence, and I needs must praise,
Just or unjust,