A Hymn

Don Marquis

Clothed on with thunder and with steel
  And black against the dawn
The whirling armies clash and reel. . . .
  A wind, and they are gone
  Like mists withdrawn,
  Like mists withdrawn!

Like clouds withdrawn, like driven sands,
  Earth’s body vanisheth:
One solid thing unconquered stands,
  The ghost that humbles death.
  All else is breath,
  All else is breath!

Man rose from out the stinging slime,
  Half brute, and sought a soul,
And up the starrier ways of time,
  Half god, unto his goal,

  He still must climb,
  He still must climb!

What though worlds stagger, and the suns
  Seem shaken in their place,
Trust thou the leaping love that runs
  Creative over space:
  Take heart of grace,
  Take heart of grace!

What though great kingdoms fall on death
  Before the stabbing blade,
Their brazen might was only breath,
  Their substance but a shade—
  Be not dismayed,
  Be not dismayed!

Man’s dream which conquered brute and clod
  Shall fail not, but endure,
Shall rise, though beaten to the sod,
  Shall hold its vantage sure—
  As sure as God,
  As sure as God!

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