How gently falls the stroke of doom,
how swift the sprout of vice;
how quiet is the tread of gloom:
a man but asks the price --
the silver gained for traitor's guilt.
And what a paltry price!
The price for which to sell the world,
the price of devastation,
the price that soon a man will hurl
away in desolation:
but a little bag of coin
for the hope of every nation!
Yet are you any better here,
or, for that matter, I?
Too good to sell hope out of fear,
betray love lest we die?
Too wise to trade the deepest things
and some small pleasure buy?
And if someone were to catch your theft,
might they catch you in a lie,
a false heart asking, sly and deft:
"How could it be I?"
Knowing well your deepest guilt:
"Lord, I ask you, is it I?"
Ties that Bind
Cons. III m. 6
But one mortal earth-born race
springing from a single source;
but one Father for the world,
guiding all, each in its course,
giving rays to beaming sun,
giving horns to moon's soft light,
giving earth to mortal men,
giving stars to silky night.
In limbs of flesh he clothes the soul
that shimmers down from heaven's land,
giving noble issue forth
when a woman knows a man.
Can you boast of noble blood?
Look to where you first began,
you find the God who made all things
by word and will and secret plan;
and none there are who are not found
to be of sacred kin and line,
flowing from the single fount,
joined to all with ties that bind.
The world, by some strange hendiadys,
split in two, though born as one,
is reflected as in a mirror
in the wave and glass of mind,
like two words conjoined in meaning,
one echoing in different from
the selfsame meaning of the other
with subtle, variant suggestion,
like argent silver of the moon.