A Prayer (A Prayer For Strength)

O soul! However sweet
The goal to which I hasten with swift feet-
If, just within my grasp,
I reach, and joy to clasp,
And find there one whose body I must make
A footstool for that sake,
Though ever and forevermore denied,
Grant me to turn aside!

O, howsoever dear
The love I long for, seek, and find anear-
So near, so dear, the bliss
Sweetest of all that is,
If I must win by treachery or art,
Or wrong one other heart,
Thought it should bring me death, my soul, that day
Grant me to turn away!

That in the life so far
And yet so near, I be without a scar
Of wounds dealt others! Greet with lifted eyes
The pure of Paradise!
So I may never know
The agony of tears I caused to flow!

The night falls, heavy with the coming storm!
Far out, the ocean frets against the bar,
And the cloud-legions, gathering force and form,
Shut, with closed ranks, all gleam of moon or star.
Tempestuous darkness! and unto the dawn,
Long hours. Ah! with the passing will there be
The gold and crimson by the sun-rays drawn,
Or tempest still, and moaning of the sea?
The world is heavy with the coming storm!
No nation wars with nation, race with race,
But where the love-pulse should beat quick and warm,
Lo! brother against brother, face to face.
Abel unto the god of blood gives blood,
Who heeds not the fair fruitage of the land,
And wrong and rage, of viper-nests the brood,
Arm Cain with flaming heart and flaming brand.
Where is the peace that should with thee abide
O Earth? Art still beneath the primal ban,
Availing naught the Holy Crucified?
No faith in God because no faith in man!
Thy helpless idols help thee not-Awake!
Arise, and let thy weary burden fall!
Captive, the fetters of the ages break,
And, thrall to Mammon, be no longer thrall.

O Spirit of the Holy One, from where
On high Thou dwellest, lend Thy loving will
To quell these battle-giants of the air,
And to the warring waters speak, 'Be still.'
Or if from darkness, only, springs the light,
And but from struggle blessed peace is born,
Loose all the awful thunders of Thy might-
And hail, the night! that heralds the glad morn.