Janet Hamilton

1795-1873 / Scotland

The Two Conquerors

'Twas ancient Macedon that gave to time
The hero, world-renown'd-his sire sublime
Olympian Jove: so said the royal dame
Whose breast maternal nursed the child of fame.
All-conquering conqueror-too small the world
For thine ambition-thrones and sceptres hurled
To dust; earth saw her dynasties o'erthrown,
That thou might'st reign unrivall'd and alone!
Lo, in the van, to fight, command, and lead,
Earth's matchless rider on his matchless steed,
From Greece to Ind, still victory flies before,
Till Alexander reigns from shore to shore!
The scene is changed, the victor quits the field,
Fierce joys, wild pleasures, all that earth can yield,
Are his nude nymphs-his bloody laurels twine
With myrtle wreaths. On floods of sparkling wine
Sits Death triumphant, plucks the victor's crown
From his cold brow, and binds it on his own.
Long ages pass-'tis Macedonia still.
Not now the trump of war from hill to hill
Awakes the echoes of each rock and cave
With calls to victory or a warrior's grave.
Comes one from Philippi: 'What hast thou seen?'
'Two lonely men of lowly gait and mien.'
'Tis Paul and Silas; now shall Macedon
Receive a conqueror mightier than her own-
Behold the Banner of the Cross unfurled,
And waved triumphant o'er a conquered world!
True soldiers of the cross! how glorious far
Your mighty Leader! Glorious far the war
He bids you wage, strong in His strength and might!
Celestial armour guards you in the fight;
For not with flesh, and blood, and things of earth,
But powers and spirits of infernal birth
Ye wrestle-holding fast the shield of faith
To quench the fiery darts of sin and death.
Wielded by you, how flashed the Spirit's sword!
The searching lightnings of the eternal Word
Startled and woke to life a slumbering world,
And from their thrones the powers of darkness hurled!
O more than conquerors! hark the loud acclaim
Earth sends to heaven, and heaven returns the same:
'Glory to God on high, good-will to men,
Peace, peace on earth, Amen, yea, and Amen!'
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