Sicily, December 1908

O garden isle, beloved by Sun and Sea, --
Whose bluest billows kiss thy curving bays,
Whose amorous light enfolds thee in warm rays
That fill with fruit each dark-leaved orange-tree, --
What hidden hatred hath the Earth for thee?
Behold, again, in these dark, dreadful days,
She trembles with her wrath, and swiftly lays
Thy beauty waste in wreck and agony!

Is Nature, then, a strife of jealous powers,
And man the plaything of unconscious fate?
Not so, my troubled heart! God reigns above
And man is greatest in his darkest hours:
Walking amid the cities desolate,
The Son of God appears in human love.

by Henry Van Dyke

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