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- Poems of Progress - 2/16 -

And there is no law but might, And the wrong way seems the right; When he who slaughters the most Is all men's pride and boast. The need of the world I know.

I know the need of the world. When it babbles of gold and fame, It is only to lead us astray From the thing that it dare not name, For this is the sad world's way. Oh! poor blind world grown grey With the need of a thing so near, With the want of a thing so dear. The need of the world I know.

The need of the world is love. Deep under the pride of power, Down under its lust of greed, For the joys that last but an hour, There lies forever its need. For love is the law and the creed And love is the unnamed goal Of life, from man to the mole. Love is the need of the world.


Skilled mariner, and counted sane and wise, That was a curious thing which chanced to me, So good a sailor on so fair a sea. With favouring winds and blue unshadowed skies, Led by the faithful beacon of Love's eyes, Past reef and shoal, my life-boat bounded free And fearless of all changes that might be Under calm waves, where many a sunk rock lies.

A golden dawn; yet suddenly my barque Strained at the sails, as in a cyclone's blast; And battled with an unseen current's force, For we had entered when the night was dark That old tempestuous Gulf Stream of the Past. But for love's eyes, I had not kept the course.


His art was loving; Eres set his sign Upon that youthful forehead, and he drew The hearts of women, as the sun draws dew. Love feeds love's thirst as wine feeds love of wine; Nor is there any potion from the vine Which makes men drunken like the subtle brew Of kisses crushed by kisses; and he grew Inebriated with that draught divine.

Yet in his sober moments, when the sun Of radiant summer paled to lonely fall, And passion's sea had grown an ebbing tide, From out the many, Memory singled one Full cup that seemed the sweetest of them all - The warm red mouth that mocked him and denied.


The world an abject vassal to her charms, And kings competing for a single smile, Yet love she knew not, till upon this isle She gave surrender to abducting arms. Not Theseus, who plucked her lips' first kiss, Not Menelaus, lawful mate and spouse, Such answering passion in her heart could rouse, Or wake such tumult in her soul as this. Let come what will, let Greece and Asia meet, Let heroes die and kingdoms run with gore; Let devastation spread from shore to shore - Resplendent Helen finds her bondage sweet. The whole world fights her battles, while she lies Sunned in the fervour of young Paris' eyes.


The battles ended, ardent Paris dead, Of faithful Menelaus long bereft, Time is the only suitor who is left: Helen survives, with youth and beauty fled. By hate remembered, but by love forgot, Dethroned and driven from her high estate, Unhappy Helen feels the lash of Fate And knows at last an unloved woman's lot. The Grecian marvel, and the Trojan joy, The world's fair wonder, from her palace flies The furies follow, and great Helen dies, A death of horror, for the pride of Troy.

* * *

Yet Time, like Menelaus, all forgives. Helen, immortal in her beauty, lives.


Lais when young, and all her charms in flower, Lais, whose beauty was the fateful light That led great ships to anchor in the night And bring their priceless cargoes to her bower, Lais yet found her cup of sweet turned sour. Great Plato's pupil, from his lofty height, Zenocrates, unmoved, had seen the white Sweet wonder of her, and defied her power.

She snared the world in nets of subtle wiles: The proud, the famed, all clamoured at her gate; Dictators plead, inside her portico; Wisdom sought madness, in her favouring smiles; Now was she made the laughing-stock of fate: One loosed her clinging arms, and bade her go.


Lais, when old and all her beauty gone, Lais, the erstwhile courted pleasure queen, Walked homeless through Corinth. One mocked her mien - One tossed her coins; she took them and passed on. Down by the harbour sloped a terraced lawn, Where fountains played; she paused to view the scene. A marble palace stood in bowers of green 'Twas here of old she revelled till the dawn.

Through yonder portico her lovers came - Hero and statesman, athlete, merchant, sage; They flung the whole world's treasures at her feet To buy her favour and exalt her shame.

* * *

She spat upon her dole of coins in rage And faded like a phantom down the street.


You are here, and you are wanted, Though a waif upon life's stair; Though the sunlit hours are haunted With the shadowy shapes of care. Still the Great One, the All-Seeing Called your spirit into being - Gave you strength for any fate. Since your life by Him was needed, All your ways by Him are heeded - You can trust and you can wait.

You can wait to know the meaning Of the troubles sent your soul; Of the chasms intervening 'Twixt your purpose and your goal; Of the sorrows and the trials, Of the silence and denials, Ofttimes answering to your pleas; Of the stinted sweets of pleasure, And of pain's too generous measure - You can wait the WHY of these.

Forth from planet unto planet, You have gone, and you will go. Space is vast, but we must span it; For life's purpose is TO KNOW. Earth retains you but a minute, Make the best of what lies in it; Light the pathway where you are. There is nothing worth the doing That will leave regret or rueing, As you speed from star to star.

You are part of the Beginning, You are parcel of To-day. When He set His world to spinning

Poems of Progress - 2/16

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