Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, CHANT SUNG IN DARKNESS, by HERBERT TRENCH

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Classic and Contemporary Poetry

CHANT SUNG IN DARKNESS, by                 Poet's Biography
First Line: Though the fool - the old gainsayer
Last Line: To raise them is for you.
Subject(s): God; Justice; Questions


THOUGH the fool -- the old gainsayer --
The passionate inveigher
Whose passion is a prayer
To one beyond his view,
Said, "Is He dumb? Defy, then!
Art thou indignant? Die, then,
Bowed down and battle-writhen,
But never stoop to sue!"
Yet Man, although he grieveth
And the pride of him upheaveth
Still in that God believeth,
Still in a goal whereto
Those heaven-plunging horses
Whose neck no rein enforces,
Unspent as from the sources
Of light and life they flew,
Sweep the earth-chariot. (Never
Shall the Charioteer's endeavor
Govern them -- Man for ever
Must bide what they may do!)
And though the breast maternal
Of the stream of lights eternal
Bears down a gorge nocturnal
Our little raft and crew,
And always wider, dimmer,
The coasts recede and glimmer,
And colder yet and grimmer
Unfold to oceans new --
Not here my wonder halteth
To trust Whom it exalteth,
Not here my soul defaulteth
To pay its worship due;
Yet, yet it mounteth fearing
Voices of darkness, rearing
Challenges persevering
That nothing can subdue: --


"The evil and offenceless
Thou smit'st, and both are senseless,
Against thine eye defenseless
The false man and the true;
Our simplest, our sublimest,
Our bravest and our primest,
Are in thy hand who climbest
The heavens without a clue;
Crush these, the brazen-throated,
But these, the self-devoted,
The deep-loved and unnoted,
Why dost Thou crush them too?
Speak, Thou, who Earth evolvest
And the globe of stars revolvest
And the night of life dissolvest,
Solve us this riddle too: --
Why to our young committing
The faults of the unwitting
Dost Thou award as fitting
Irreparable rue?
Is not Thy justice deathless?
Why let ten thousand faithless,
Wise and unclean, go scatheless
But not the faithful few?
Thy face in cloud enswathing
Why visit'st Thou with scathing
The child, the beast our plaything,
And them that never knew?"


And God saith, If ye hear it,
This weeping of the Spirit
For the world which ye inherit,
Do I not hear it too?
Arise, and to your stations,
Ye lighted living nations!
These be my dark foundations --
To raise them is for you.

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