The Voice Of One Crying
'CRY, cry aloud in the land, cry aloud in the streets of the city ;
by Sir Lewis Morris
Cry and proclaim that no more shall the blood of the people be shed.
Too long have the great ones waxed strong, without justice or any pity,
Too long have they ground down the poor, and eaten the people as bread.'
Thus said the voice from the dead.
'Terrible voice, I said, immoderate, voice of unreason,
Not of themselves do the lowly ones mourn, or the great ones rejoice ;
He who hath made them unequal, hath made all things in their season ;
If they are mighty and strong, they were made without freedom or choice.'
'Cry, cry aloud,' said the voice.
' How shall the sins of the few be reckoned against the many ?
Are there no tender hearts and kind 'midst the selfish and proud ;
Merciful souls and pure, full of love for their suffering brothers ;
Pitiful, touched with compassion and care for the desolate crowd ?'
'Cry,' said the voice, 'cry aloud.'
'Nay, but the world is ruled by merciless rules unbending ;
The feeble folk fade from the earth, and only the mighty remain ;
Not men alone, but all things send upwards a clamour unending ;
Always the whole creation travails in sorrow and pain.'
'Cry, 'said the voice, 'cry again,'
'Are not our sins and our fathers' worked out in our children's sorrow ?
Does not excess of laughter sink at its close in a sigh ?
Mirth and enjoyment to-day turn to pain and repentance to-morrow ;
Thousands are born every hour, in the place of the thousands who die.'
'Cry,' said the stubborn voice, 'cry.'
'Lo ! He hath made all things ; good and evil, sorrow and pleasure ;
Not as your ways are His ways, yet are ye not all in His hand ?
Just is He, though ye know not the measure wherewith He will measure ;
Dark things shall one day be clear ; to obey is to understand !'
Thus that voice, solemn and grand.