The sin of our race is upon us,
The pitiless, cruel disdain
Of brother for brother, tho’ coiling
Round both is the one fatal chain;
And aimless and reckless and useless
Our lives pass along to the grave
In tumults of words that bewilder,
And the conflicts of slave with slave.
Yet shadows are heavy around us,
The darkness of sin and of shame,
While the souls of the Nation to slumber
Are lulled by vain visions of fame;
True hearts, passion‐wasted, and breaking
With sense of our infinite wrong,
Oh! wake them, nor dread the awaking,
We need all the strength of the strong.
For we rage with senseless endeavours
In a fever of wild unrest,
While glory lies trampled, dishonoured,
Death‐pale, with a wound in her breast;
Had we loosened one chain from the spirit,
Had we strove from the ruin of things
To build up a Temple of Concord,
More fair than the palace of Kings;
Our name might be heard where the Nations
Press on to the van of the fight,
Where Progress makes war upon Evil,
And Darkness is scattered by Light.
They have gold and frankincense and myrrh
To lay at the feet of their King,
But we—what have we but the wine‐cup
Of wrath and of sorrow to bring?
Let us ask of our souls, lying under
The doom of this bondage and ban,
Why we, made by God high as Angels,
Should fall so much lower than man;
Some indeed have been with us would scale
Heav’n’s heights for life‐fire if they dare
But the vultures now gnaw at their hearts
Evermore on the rocks of Despair.
Let us think, when we stand before God,
On the Day of the Judgment roll,
And He asks of the work we have done
In the strength of each God‐like soul;
Can we answer—“Our prayers have gone up
As light from the stars and the sun,
And Thy blessing came down on our deeds
As a crown when the victory’s won.
“We fought with wild beasts, wilder passions,
As of old did the saints of God,
Tho’ our life‐blood ran red in the dust
Of the fierce arena we trod;
We led up Thy people triumphant
From Egypt’s dark bondage of sin,
And made the fair land which Thou gavest
All glorious without and within.
“We changed to a measure of music
The discord and wail of her days,
For sorrow gave garments of gladness,
For scorn of her enemies praise;
We crowned her a Queen in the triumph
Of noble and beautiful lives,
While her chariot of Freedom rolled on
Through the crash of her fallen gyves.”
I ask of you, Princes, and Rulers,
I ask of you, Brothers around,
Can ye thus make reply for our people
When the Nations are judged or crowned?
If not, give the reins of the chariot
To men who can curb the wild steeds
They are nearing the gulf, in this hour
We appeal by our wrongs and our needs.
Stand back and give place to new leaders;
We need them—some strong gifted souls,
From whose lips, never touched by a falsehood,
The heart’s richest eloquence rolls.
True Patriots by grandeur of purpose,
True men by the power of the brain:
The chosen of God to lift upward
His Ark with hands clear of all stain.
We need them to tend the Lord’s vineyard,
As shepherds to watch round His fold,
With brave words from pure hearts outpouring,
As wine from a chalice of gold;
That the souls of the Nation uplifted,
May shine in new radiance of light,
As of old stood the Prophets transfigured
In glory with Christ on the height.
Far out where the grand western sunsets
Flush crimson the mountain and sea,
And the echoes of Liberty mingle
With the roar of the waves on the lea;
Where over the dim shrouded passes
The clouds fling a rainbow‐hued arch,
And through giant‐rent portals a people
Go forth on their sad, solemn march:
I had dreams of a future of glory
For this fair motherland of mine,
When knowledge would bring with its splendours
The Human more near the Divine.
And as flash follows flash on the mountains,
When lightnings and thunders are hurled,
So would throb in electrical union
Her soul with the soul of the world.
For we stand too apart in our darkness,
As planets long rent from the sun,
And the mystical breath of the spirit
Scarce touches our hearts sweeping on.
I appeal from this drear isolation
To earth, to the mountains, and sky
Must we die as of thirst in a desert,
While full tides of life pass us by?
Yet still, through the darkness and sorrow,
I dream of a time yet to be,
When from mountain and ocean to Heaven
Will rise up the Hymn of the Free.
When our Country, made perfect through trial,
White‐robed, myrtle‐crowned, as a Bride,
Will stand forth, “a Lady of Kingdoms,”
Through Light and through Love glorified.