Blent with Ma-anda’s a wild cry
Of many voices rose on high,
A shriek of anguish and despair.
Which shook and filled the startled air;
And when the king, his wrath still hot,
Turned him, the little grassy plain
All lonely in the moonlight lay:
The chiefs had vanished all away
As melted into thin, blue wind;
Gone was the old man. Stunned and blind,
For a long moment stood the king;
He tried to wake; he rubbed his eyes,
As though some fearful dream to end.
It was no dream, this fearful thing:
There was the forest, there the skies,
The shepherd—and his murdered friend.
With feverish haste, bewildered, mazed,
This way and that he vainly sped,
Beating the air like one half crazed;
With prayers and cries unnumbered,
Searching, imploring,—vain, all vain.
Only the echoing woods replied,
With mocking booms their long aisles through,
“Come back, Kintu, Kintu, Kintu!”
And pitiless to all his pain
The unanswering gods his suit denied.
At last, as dawning slowly crept
To day, the king sank down and wept
A space; then, lifting as they could
The lifeless burden, once a man,
He and the shepherd-guide began
Their grievous journey through the wood,
The long and hard and dreary way,
Trodden so lightly yesterday;
And the third day, at evening’s fall,
Gained the leaf-hutted capital.
There burial rites were duly paid:
Like bridegroom decked for banqueting,
The chief adorned his funeral-pyre;
Rare gums and spices fed the fire,
Perfumes and every precious thing;
And songs were sung, and prayers were prayed,
And priests danced jubilant all day.
But prone the king Ma-anda lay,
With ashes on his royal crest,
And groaned, and beat upon his breast,
And called on Kintu loud and wild:
“Father, come back, forgive thy child!”
Bitter the cry, but vain, all vain;
The grieved god came not again.
When dawns on earth the Easter sun
The dear saints feel an answering thrill.
With whitest flowers their hands they fill;
And, singing all in unison,
Unto the battlements they press—
The very marge of heaven—how near!
And bend, and look upon us here
With eyes that rain down tenderness.
Their roses, brimmed with fragrant dew,
Their lilies fair they raise on high;
“Rejoice! The Lord is risen!” they cry;
“Christ is arisen; we prove it true!
“Rejoice, and dry those faithless tears
With which your Easter flowers are stained;
Share in our bliss, who have attained
The rapture of the eternal years;
“Have proved the promise which endures,
The Love that deigned, the Love that died;
Have reached our haven by His side—
Are Christ’s, but none the less are yours;