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For this cause I will make of your warfare a terrible thing,
A thing impossible, vain;
For a man shall set his hand to a handle and wither
Invisible armies and fleets,
And a lonely man with a breath shall exterminate armies,
With a whisper annihilate fleets;
And the captain shall sit in his chamber and level a city,
Then the Tzar that dreameth in snow and broodeth in
That foiled dreamer in frost,
And the Teuton Emperor then, and the Gaul and the Briton
Shall cease from impossible war,
Discarding their glittering legions, armadas of iron,
As children toys that are old.
As a man hath been brought, I will bring unto judgment a nation;
Nor shall numbers be pleaded for sin.
And that people to whom I gave in commission the ocean
To use my waters for right,
Let them look to the inward things, to the searching of spirit,
And cease from boasting and noise.
Then nation shall cleave unto nation, and Babel shall fall:
They shall speak in a common tongue,
And the soul of the Gaul shall leap to the soul of the Briton
Through all disguises and shows;
And soul shall speak unto soul-I weary of tongues,
I weary of babble and strife.
Lo! I am the bonder and knitter together of spirits,
In the years that have been, in the rocks I have shown ye
And a ledger in layers of chalk ;
I have shown ye a book and a diary faithful in caverns,
When ye swayed to and fro as a jelly in ooze of the ocean,
And I brooded on primal ooze as a mother broodeth,
And slime as a cradle I watched.
When ye hung on the branches of trees, when ye swung and ye chattered,
I made ready, prepared and decreed
That in years that should be I would bring ye with patience through æons,
From slime through the forest of bliss;
I would wean ye from climbings and fury to wings and to wisdom,
From dark sea-stupor to life.
In the years that have been I have broken the barriers to knowledge,
I have shattered your barriers and bars;
I have led, like steeds from a stable, Forces and Powers,
I have bidden ye mount them and ride.
In the years that shall be ye shall harness the Powers of the æther
And drive them with reins as a steed;
Ye shall ride on a Power of the air, on a Force that is bridled,
On a saddled Element leap;
And rays shall be as your coursers, and heat as a carriage, And waves of the æther your wheels;
And the thunder shall be as a servant, a slave that is ready,
And the lightning as he that waits.
Ye shall send on your business the blast, and the tempest
Ye shall use for your need, Eclipse.
In that day shall a man out of uttermost India whisper,
And a maiden in English sunshine have sight of her lover, And he behold her from Cathay.
In that day shall ye walk to and fro on the sea without
And pace without fear the foam,
As a field of the evening the Mediterranean lying,
'Yet remember the ancient things, the things that have been,
And meekly inherit the Earth!
And or ever those days be ended, the veil shall be rent
The veil upon Nature's face.
And the dead whom ye loved, ye shall walk with, and speak with the lost.
The delusion of Death shall pass :
The delusion of mounded earth, the apparent withdrawal, The snare of sightlessness vanish.
Ye shall shed your bodies, and upward shall flutter to freedom,
For a moment consent to the ground.
Lo! I am the burster of bonds and the breaker of barriersI am He that shall free,' saith the Lord.
For the lingering battle, the contest of ages is ending,
And victory followeth Me.
They set them in order of battle, they ranged them against Me
Chaos and Anguish and Time
And Madness and Hunger and Sorrow and Night and the Grave
But victory followeth Me.
Lo! I come, I hasten, I set my procession in order,
In order of triumph I come ;
At the wheels of my chariot pacing, like alien captives,
Anguish and Time and Death,
Through a multitude out of the uttermost spheres assembled, With a shout of delivered stars.'
A NEW CENTURY AND AN OLD RIDDLE
Y. AH, welcome! I was thinking of you just now, and how long it is since I had seen you-not since your illness. But now I can congratulate you on your recovery this New Year's Day, and New Century Day. Bonne journée, bonne œuvre.
X. Your kind welcome is bonne œuvre, that's certain; whether it is bonne œuvre to have recovered footing on this ground, why, that is another matter. It's dubious to me, just as it is dubious whether this first day of January, 1901, is bonne journée for the planet and its inhabitants.
Y. Oh dear! what big words-monstrous words! Some people say, 'Why make a fuss about the 1st of January, 1901, any more than about the last Tuesday was a twelvemonth?' I am not one of them. I ignorantly worship the new century. But I say to my friends, Do let us put away all these pessimistic follies with the nineteenth hundred of grace, and start afresh with the twentieth. Let us
X. Forgive my interrupting you, but I am anxious to ask-Is there, do you think, any better ground for putting away pessimistic for hopeful questioning of the Sphinx because this is the 1st of January, 1901, than there was on the 1st of January, 1900 (always supposing it is worth while to question the Sphinx at all)?
Y. Of course it would be irrational to say yes. This is a mere arbitrary point of our own fixing, in the whirling cycle; we are all agreed as to that. But it strikes the imagination-it's a peg to hang one's thoughts on.
X. But why should they be any less pessimistic thoughts than before? It is not proved to me that pessimism is folly. Are you so youthful in heart as to think there is the slightest probability that the sickness of these latter times will be cured, in that a new measure is begun in their tale of years?
Y. No, I am not. But I do think it worth while for a few of us sick folk- -as sick in mind as you have been in body-to reconsider our conclusions, now that we are pointedly appealed to by our own almanacks.
X. It still seems to me that you give the almanack an altogether imaginary Standpunkt whence to sermonise mankind.
Whether we choose to reckon by fifties or by hundreds or by thousands of years is 'neither here nor there.' The tiresome riddle of human existence remains as before, for those who choose to pay any attention to it.
Y. Vous prêchez une convertie, my dear friend. The reckoning by centuries is of our making, of course. But day and night, and the seasons and the years, are not of our making, nor yet the immeasurable stream of change, which has been rushing round and round, and yet forward, since the planet' cooled into a coherent shape. X. And what then?
Y. I humbly suggest to you to think of this word 'forward.' I say, here is a point that we have marked for ourselves in the flux of time. Well, it suggests to us, inevitably, fresh wonderment at that flux which is carrying us all-fresh questioning-whence? and whither? How? why?
X. Very likely. But is there any profit in all your wonder and questioning?
Y. I venture to think there may be some. I was going on to say that there would seem to be a progress toward some far-off goal, as well as the rushing round and round
The rushing and the rolling of the cons of the years
in the course of this world. A forward movementX. Of a sort
Y. seems to be intended by the great unknown directing Power. So much, it would seem, we may infer, even apart from the Christian position.
Y. If so, my contention is that it is worth while to consider, as we look at this little point in the almanack, whether it may not signalise new thoughts-or rather new-old-of our position and outlook, pains and joys and hopes. May we not profitably revert to old conceptions of life
X. Reversion and progress are not usually reckoned convertible terms.
Y. You would not hear my sentence out. It is difficult to make one's meaning clear, in such discussions as this, without appearing pompous and verbose-or at least wearisome.
X. No, no; say on.
Y. Well, I am clumsily trying to argue that reversion may lead to progress; that if we take heart, and resume the old conception of life that the great ages of Greece, for instance, had-thinking of it much more simply than has been our modern wont, as a good and happy, beautiful and powerful thing in itself, not troubling ourselves with all the drawbacks possible, nor asking "What is the use?' at every turn-why, then we may find that though the old conception