They were but comrades. To that radiant maid
No serious word he spake; no lovers’ plea.
Like careless children, glad and unafraid,
They sported in their opulence of glee.
Her shining tresses floated wild and free;
In simple lines her emerald garments hung;
She was both good to hear, and fair to see;
And when she laughed, then Earth laughed too, and flung
His cares behind him, and grew radiant and young.
One golden day, as he reclined beneath
The arching azure of enchanting skies,
Fair Summer came, engirdled with a wreath
Of gorgeous leaves all scintillant with dyes.
Effulgent was she; yet within her eyes,
There hung a quivering mist of tears unshed.
Her crimson-mantled bosom shook with sighs;
Above him bent the glory of her head;
And on his mouth she pressed a splendid kiss, and fled.
All roads that lead to God are good;
What matters it, your faith, or mine;
Both centre at the goal divine
Of love’s eternal Brotherhood.
The kindly life in house or street;
The life of prayer, and mystic rite;
The student’s search for truth and light;
These paths at one great junction meet.
Before the oldest book was writ,
Full many a prehistoric soul
Arrived at this unchanging goal,
Through changeless love, that led to it.
What matters that one found his Christ
In rising sun, or burning fire;
If faith within him did not tire,
His longing for the truth sufficed.
Before our ‘Christian’ hell was brought
To edify a modern world,
Full many a hate-filled soul was hurled
In lakes of fire by its own thought.
A thousand creeds have come and gone;
But what is that to you or me?
Creeds are but branches of a tree,
The root of love lives on and on.
Though branch by branch proves withered wood,
The root is warm with precious wine;
Then keep your faith, and leave me mine;
all roads that lead to God are good.
Now ere I slept, my prayer had been that I might see my way To do the will of Christ, our Lord and Master, day by day; And with this prayer upon my lips, I knew not that I dreamed, But suddenly the world of night a pandemonium seemed. From forest, and from slaughter house, from bull ring, and from stall, There rose an anguished cry of pain, a loud, appealing call; As man—the dumb beast’s next of kin—with gun, and whip, and knife, Went pleasure-seeking through the earth, blood-bent on taking life. From trap, and cage, and house, and zoo, and street, that awful strain Of tortured creatures rose and swelled the orchestra of pain. And then methought the gentle Christ appeared to me, and spoke: ’I called you, but ye answered not’—and in my fear I woke.