By Charles Sorley

THERE is silence in the evening when the long days cease,
And a million men are praying for an ultimate release
From strife and sweat and sorrow--they are praying for peace.
But God is marching on.

Peace for a people that is striving to be free !
Peace for the children of the wild wet sea!
Peace for the seekers of the promised land--do we
Want peace when God has none?

We pray for rest and beauty that we know we cannot earn,
And ever are we asking for a honey-sweet return;
But God will make it bitter, make it bitter, till we learn
That with tears the race is run.

And did not Jesus perish to bring to men, not peace,
But a sword, a sword for battle and a sword that should not cease?
Two thousand years have passed us. Do we still want peace
Where the sword of Christ has shone?

Yes, Christ perished to present us with a sword,
That strife should be our portion and more strife our reward,
For toil and tribulation and the glory of the Lord
And the sword of Christ are one.

If you want to know the beauty of the thing called rest,
Go, get it from the poets, who will tell you it is best
(And their words are sweet as honey) to lie flat upon your chest
And sleep till life is gone.

I know that there is beauty where the low streams run,
And the weeping of the willows and the big sunk sun,
But I know my work is doing and it never shall be done,
Though I march for ages on.

Wild is the tumult of the long grey street,
O, is it never silent from the tramping of their feet?
Here, Jesus, is Thy triumph, and here the world's defeat,
For from here all peace has gone.

There's a stranger thing than beauty in the ceaseless city's breast,
In the throbbing of its fever--and the wind is in the west,
And the rain is driving forward where there is no rest,
For the Lord is marching on.

December 1912
Tuesday, July 23rd, 2024