Latter-Day Psalms

By Olaf Stapledon

1914

PREFACE

Appearing just before Christmas, 1914, Latter-Day Psalms was Stapledon’s first book. The poems combined theological inquiry with commentary on working-class Liverpool, which the author had observed at first hand as a resident social worker at Liverpool University Settlement. The book was not a success, although it included some of the earliest formulations of characteristically Stapledonian motifs: the stellar vision; human and planetary mortality; the indifference of the cosmos (and of the Christian God) to human suffering. In the 1920s, when Stapledon wanted to collect all his poems he thought worth saving, he kept only a few from Latter-Day Psalms; most of those he also revised to make their diction less musty.

It must therefore be remembered that Olaf Stapledon was not happy with the work in later life, which is something the reader must bear in mind.

This is one of the rarest of Olaf Stapledon's works- as said before it did not sell well and all remaindered copies were destroyed in a fire at the publisher's warehouse. We must thank an anonymous person from Bideford who enabled us to upload this work.

The City

Spirit

Omnipotence

Who Art Thou?

Humanity

Men

Time

God

The Heavens Declare

My Cup Runneth Over

The Rebel

Labour

Strife

Salvation

Athena

Apollo

Artemis

Our Lady of Heaven

Jaweh

Satan

Christ

Brahma

War

Peace

.

The City

I went into a city to see if there be God.
The sun was hidden from my sight; the city
      roared in my ears.
The people hurried to and fro all the day long;
      their eyes were unquiet
The half of them starved, and saw death daily before
      them. The half of them were surfeited, and
      stirred up strange desires.
Things of no moment were in their minds all the
      day long. They fought one with another,
      as monkeys over a straw.
With ceremonies they made believe to be holy;
      yet they were proud of aping the wicked.
The men whetted their lust upon the women; and
      the women were weary of motherhood.
The men and women were loathsome, for they
      had forgotten love.
I said, "If there be God, has he made them so?
What part had God in the founding of this city?"
I saw that the children were marred even in the womb;
      that God assailed them with temptations while
      yet they were weak.
I saw that the good men of the city flourished not.
The city had not been founded for them.
But surely man and not God founded the city.
How shall I condemn God for the
      blunders of men?
Yet God has permitted slaughter of the innocents.
Does the Most High God delight in the sacrifice of souls?
I said in my pride, “If there be God, he shall be no God of Mine.
I will go my way, and live according as my soul wills.
I will make war upon thee, evil God. Though thou slay me,
I will contrive justice and mercy against thy will.”

.

Spirit

But behold, the heavens around me were very beautiful. The
       multitude of stars smiled upon me.
The lights of the city trembled beneath me as it were in sorrow; and
      her murmur was music.
Peace came upon me, and exaltation; and I marvelled that I should be
       exalted.
I was as though some spirit within me had certain knowledge of God,
      declaring, "He is gentle. He is merciful."
But I looked upon the city, and rejected comfort, saying, "Nay, thou
      foolish imagination.
"But the spirit would not be put down. It gloried within me.
And I saw that the spirit was excellent beyond all that I called good,
      and merciful beyond my mercy.
And I was amazed, and said, "Surely thou only art God who dwellest
      in my heart. And thou rulest the stars."

.

Omnipotence

I went into an open place under the stars. The city lay beneath me,
       and her sound was subdued.
I saw that the hosts of heaven perform that which was ordained in
      the beginning. The city was ordained in the beginning also.
I looked into the far place beyond the stars. I hearkened to a little
       wind of the earth whispering among the grasses.
And a great fear fell upon me out of the heavens, because of the
       majesty of God.
I said, "How shall I call thee just or unjust? Thou art mighty, and I
       am very small.
I am weary of myself because I am so small. I am contemptible in my
      own eyes because thou hast ordained what I must will.
Wherefore has thou sickened this thy little earth with a fever of life?
      Wherefore hast thou made the swarms of men to fret upon her?
Thou hast made the heavens for thy plaything. Thou breakest the
      heart of man like a toy."
My spirit was dried up within me. I sat without meditation.

.

Who Art Thou?

Who art thou that dwellest in the hearts of men; and speakest
      in my heart daily, so that I call thee God?
I feel thee excellent within me. I bow down to thee in the
      secret place within me.
Thou hast made me a law, and I will keep it.
I go amongst men, thinking of thee, saying, “I will be like
      to thee; they that are like to thee are men.”
Thou art beautiful, and abhorrest that which is vile. Who art
      thou that hast made thyself beautiful out of the
      sorrow of men?
Thou didst make the nations to toil, that they might bring
      thee out of darkness into light. Art thou God
      for whom the peoples suffer?
Thou are more beautiful from generation to generation.
      Shall the peoples suffer for thee daily more and more?
I rose up and cried against thee blasphemously in the world, saying,
       “I scorn thee, thou cruel God.”
But thou speakest within me: I am bowed down before thee.

.

Humanity

The spirit that dwells in the hearts of men spoke within me, saying:
Oh my children, ye in whom I live, ye that have suffered for me
      to make me beautiful!
Think ye that I have slain my children willingly? I am not God
      who has ordained pain.
I am the Spirit dwelling in your hearts. Ye live that
      I may be beautiful.
Ye are of me, but I am greater than you. I am the Soul of All Men.
In the days of my darkness, when I knew not myself,
      I was like a child, living in a dream.
Out of the lives of the ancient multitudes I have awakened and
      found myself. And lo! I am beautiful, and yearn toward God.
God has given me a law; and I will keep it.
I will make myself perfect. I will be beautiful in the eyes of God.
I will stand before him joyful as a bride. I will be for him a bride
      or a sacrifice according to his will.
As for you, my children, my little ones, the sorrow that ye have suffered
      cannot be undone.
But the sorrow that ye have suffered shall not be wasted.
      Because ye have suffered, behold, I am.
The lives of all the multitudes are gathered in me.
      There shall no little soul be lost.
When I stand before God, the sorrow and the joy that ye have
      suffered for me shall be in my beauty. In my blessedness
      ye shall be blessed.
Therefore hearken unto me when I speak in your hearts; for I know God.

.

Men

Behold the sons of men, who sin, whose hearts are divine!
In selfishness they heap up misery upon one another; yet for love
       they die.
They are blown hither and thither like the dead leaves; yet for love
       they are steadfast.
They trample on their kindred for a little bread; yet for a vision they
      forget themselves.
Scatter gold among them, and they fall upon one another in lust.
Show them God, and behold them sons of God.
I went into the city to be with men, and to learn their hearts.
I met them in the streets and in the public places, and the Spirit
      greeted me through their eyes, even from behind their hardness of heart.
I was with them in their homes, and their hearts opened to me like
       roses, so that I am filled with the fragrance that is in men’s hearts.

.

Time

Wherefore hast thou made the world that it shall die, and the heavens
      that they shall burn out like a flame?
What wilt thou do when the stars are all extinguished, and there is no
      place for life?
The sons of men have builded for themselves a house of beauty. It is
      continually embellished.
The last of the generations shall dwell therein and die; and the beauty
      that was builded shall be no more.
A lover and his beloved have met together in the evening. Evening
      shall return, but they return not.
The home that seemed eternal is broken up and scattered. The
      children remember it; they die; it is no more.
I am heavy of heart because of fleeting time, and because all things
      come to nought.

.

God

The voice of God spake out of his creation:
I have made a law, that is my law of beauty. I have ordained my heavens
      that they shall blossom and wither away.
The flower shall die, but the seed shall flourish. Like a flower,
      the world shall perish, but the spirit that is born therein shall love.
If the spirit has need, shall I not make other universes for her sake,
      to be ethereal according to her necessity?
As for you, oh men, out of lifelessness I made you to live.
      Out of unconsciousness I gave you the glory of thought.
Have ye fear that I will let you slip again into nothingness?
      Do ye hunger after eternity all your life long?
Be sure that if ye die utterly, it is best that ye die; and if ye live for ever,
      it is best that ye live.
For I have made you to fulfil my purpose. Nothing that is in you
      shall be lost from me.
I have made you that ye shall create love and victory. That which
      ye create I will not destroy.
That ye may be courageous, I have hidden the future from you.
      That ye may conceive the light, I have laid my hand over
      your eyes and covered you in darkness.
That ye may know hope and despair, I have tempted you with many ideals,
      even while I resist all your striving for ever.
Yea, that ye may excel in fortitude, I will harass you all the days of your life,
      and seem to defeat you for ever.
That ye may love, I have tuned you together like music, so that in loneliness
      ye fulfil not yourselves.
That ye may increase in love, I have given you the means to sacrifice;
      that ye may sacrifice to love, and know that love is best.
That ye may know the peace of love, I have set in each of you the desire
      of a dear friend; that ye may look upon each other in wonder and
      delight, and be sufficient each to another.
That ye may know the glory of love, I have spoken to you in your friend’s
      voice; and in the eyes of your beloved ye have seen me.
Thus shall ye join with all my creatures in creating for me love. Its dearness
      and its splendour ye shall make for me.
Thus only shall ye come into the knowledge of me. Thus shall ye love me.
In each of my stars I have set a mighty spirit to increase in beauty.
      The peoples that dwell upon the multitude of my stars are beyond number.
Exalted are they who look to Sirius and Aldebaran as ye look to the sun.
      There are gentle peoples who praise me out of the midst of the Pleiades.
In every part of my heaven there is life living together; and out of its
      loving a spirit is born, to be the soul of each star.
Behold, these are my ministers who do my pleasure; who yearn towards
      one another across the great abyss;
Who fill my heaven with sing, as it were a little room
      bursting with voices;
Who shall draw near together, and be one soul, creating for me
      my heart’s desire.

.

The Heavens Declare

Hast thou heard the song of the heavens,
      the chorus of innumerable stars?
If thou lie out in the darkness on the bare heath
      when the music of the wind is at rest, and the
      murmur of men is very far away; if thou listen with all
      thy soul, thou shalt hear the song of the heavens.
Thou shalt know that thou art clinging to a little star that is like a
      mote flying on the storm. And the voices of the mighty shall
      be about thee.
They shall be singing a great song. They shall overwhelm thee with harmony.
The Spirit of Man lifteth up her voice in the chorus. There were not harmony
      without her.
Thou shalt hear her song rising beside thee as it were the song of a child;
      but the voices of the mighty shall overwhelm thee even from the heavens
      that lie beyond thy sight.
The purport of the singing thou shalt not understand; but thy soul shall be
       filled with music.
Thy soul shall respond as it were a harp answering
      to the wind. Thy soul shall be musical
      according to her capacity.
There shall no more of the harmony enter
      thee than thou canst bear; but thou shalt
      feel glory round about thee.
Thou shalt hear lamentation as of a passionate
      sorrow, that mourneth in all the regions of
      heaven;
The sorrow in which beauty shall be brought
      forth; the terror of the darkness where there
      shall be light.
Thou shalt hear triumph as of one glorying in
      his death; the triumph of spirit fulfilled.
Thou shalt hear, as it were a melody exceeding
      sweet, the truth of that which thou callest love,
      when thou feelest it a little and art exalted.
But what is thy loving to the loving of the
      heavens, whereby they are made one?
Whereby the past liveth in the future; whereby
      the future and the past are one.
The voice of Heaven is one voice, singing a
      song of praise.
The voice of Heaven is one voice, singing a
      song of love.
Heaven prepareth for her beloved. The
      beloved of Heaven is God.

.

My Cup Runneth Over

THOU hast set me in the midst of beauty.
       What am I that I should be singled out
       for joy?
The trees clothe themselves in the green colour
       of spring; their branches are filled with the
       song of many birds.
By day the glory of the sun flows in my veins,
       filling me with content. By night the stars
       callout my spirit in worship, and I am lost
       among them.
In the setting of the sun and in men's works I
       see beauty; in the storm and in the thrust
       of a spade.
Thou hast made me to take delight in music,
       whereby my spirit ascends I know not
       whither.
Thou hast made me to take delight in the
       thoughts of the great, the heritage of the
       generations.
Thou hast made me to take delight in men and
       women, and to seek the keys of their
       hearts.
Thou hast made me to love. Surely she is thy
       daughter whose home is my heart, for she
       is like to thee.
Wherefore hast thou blessed me thus beyond
       measure? What am I that I should be
       singled out for joy?
I have no merit beyond my brother. Have I
       stolen my brother's blessing?
He has no respite from labouring all the day
       long, and the fruit of his labour he shall
       not use.
The fruit of his labour is my beatitude.
       Because of him I have leisure to seek
       beauty.
His eyes are blinded with toil. He is cursed
       because of me.
Why dost thou not destroy me in anger? Hast
       thou no vengeance terrible enough for me ?
Dost thou lie in wait for me till the cup of joy
       be full; to dash it from me ?
Rather thou hast poisoned it with shame
       and self-despising. I drink to my soul's
       death.
Shall I renounce beauty? Shall I blind myself
       that I may be as my brother?
Shall I withdraw me from pollution for my own
       soul's sake, and deny myself selfishly?
Oh, rather let me bow the head humbly before
       my brother, and say, "I am thy servant,
       who would help thee to beauty.
Because of thy toil I have known beauty.
       I will not rest until thou know her also."

.

The Rebel

Thus spake the oppressed:
What have I to do with God? What has God
       done for me?
He thrust me into the world hungry, and I
       could get no food.
He made others to surfeit, that my mouth
       might water.
He made me to desire pleasure and shun pain, and
       overwhelmed me with heavy toil and grief.
He made me to love, and to hunger for love;
       but what home for love have I?
He made me to guess that there is beauty, and
       set his favoured ones to proclaim beauty
       lest I should forget.
But the door of his heaven he fixed ajar, that
       I might hear and not enter.
And ye speak to me of worship and the joy of
       sacrifice! Wherefore should I sacrifice to you
       and to your tyrant God?
Mighty is your God, for he made the stars and
       enslaved the peoples. Loving he is not,
       for he made me.

.

Labour

I HEARD a voice of anger rising out of the city,
       the voice of many men:
Where is the oppressor? Who is it that has
       bound us to his will?
We are like a man who would tread down fire,
       but it springs up behind him anew.
Where is the oppressor, that we may throw
       him down, and cast him into the hell that
       he has made?
We have risen against one, but he vows it is
       not he; and against another, but he
       reproaches us, saying, "Friends, I am your
       friend."
Where is the oppressor, he that lurks in the
       darkness to torment us?
Is he more worthy than we, that we should
       be his slaves? Or is he a god, that we
       should be a sacrifice to him?
Is it he that put weapons into the hands of the
       first men, that they might overcome the
       beasts?
Is it he that sweated to make the earth bring
       forth in the beginning, wrestling with
       tools against the wild?
Did he pile up the wide, mouldering cities of
the dead? Is it his blood that is upon
the pyramids?
Did he lay himself down to die on the old
       frontiers, that there might be peace behind
       him?
Did he build roads and bridges with his hands?
       Did he make the corn to grow for
       innumerable harvests?
Did he cramp his back under the earth to bring
       up coal and all metals? Does he die
       daily for our sakes?
It is our backs that are bent. It is we that
       toil from the beginning until the end of
       the world.
It is we that hand down an increasing inheritance
       to all the generations, making the
       earth to be a pleasant home.
We are mighty in labour. We have great
       work to do.
Who dare hinder us? Who dare squander
       what we have made?
Where is the oppressor, the devourer, the accurst?

.

Strife

SPIRIT rages against spirit. The sons of God
       contend together in long war.
The storm breaks up the trees. The storm
       casts down the strong trees gladly.
The sea has no regard for ships. He devours
       the mariners like food.
Plagues rot the peoples. The little creatures
       of pestilence revel in the bodies of men.
With mild eyes the stag beseeches the hunter;
       but the hunter will not understand.
Warriors go forth from their homes, fresh
       with kisses. They go to destroy one
       another, made glad with the prayer of
       nations.
Each host calls the sun friend, and the stars
       give heart to each on the night marches.
They rush together in battle, calling on God
       for victory. Each cries, "God is on our side."
But the one conquers and the other is swept
       away. The deed of the one flourishes,
       but the other has striven in vain.
The victor exults, saying, "The stars are jubilant
       for us." The vanquished mourns,
       "The stars weep because of our fall"
For I am my universe. Out of my own
       heaven I gather splendour, and weave
       thereof the desire of my heart.
From the midst of myself I look out upon
       my neighbour; but how shall I fathom
       what is beyond the stars?
I cannot see his heaven. He strives for what
       I scorn.
We meet together without understanding of
       one another, as it were two ships passing
       in the night. We are but as meteors in
       one another's sky.
But if the desires of our hearts clash, our
       worlds are shattered together. We rush
       into conflict, crying, "God is on our side."
We gather our friends together, crying, "Help
       to resist the Fiend, lest he tear the world
       asunder, and Hell triumph."
It is so with the selfish and the unselfish,
       the wise and the foolish, the lowly and
       the mighty; with him who labours for
       his children, and him who would save
       the people.
It is so with kings and priests, warriors and meek
       men. It is so with the prophets of God.
Spirit rages against spirit; the sons of God
       call upon God to destroy his sons.
In the multitude there are innumerable longings.
       The desires of a people are like a
       host of wings that clash together striving
       to soar.
A multitude of men is as a multitude of
       worlds; and in the midst of each is a
       heart's desire.
Who shall measure the span of the minds
       of all the living; and the longings of
       all the generations?
Who shall count the sum of all striving
       since first there was desire; or tell the
       pain of all failing since the first heart broke?
The achievement of men is glorious as a
       tower reaching up to heaven; but the
       deeds that have had no fruit, and the
       striving whose fruit is bitterness, cannot be told.
It has left no trace; yet is it great as the
       host of the dead.
Is it wasted and utterly lost? Or does it live
       in some good done without knowledge?
Martyrs bear witness in the world. Their zeal gives light.
But what of him that strives in secret and
       prevails not? And of him whose heart
       is broken within him, and yet he must
       make merry?
And what of the trees overthrown by the
       tempest, and the seed that is strewn
       upon the water?
What of the mariners whose lives are cut
       short; and the soldiers whose homes are
       desolate?
What of the peoples that have destroyed one
       another; and the peoples whose spirit has
       not lived?
And what of the sacrifice that is rejected, and
       the love that is driven away?
Believe that these are of great worth! Doubt
       not that their worth is everlasting!
For spirit lives by energy and love. Out of
       suffering also blossoms the flower, spirit.
Though we utterly die and cease, spirit dies
       not. Wherefore do we live and die but
       that spirit may be?
Believe that spirit is eternal! Yea, though the
       world a thousand times prove thee that it
       dies, believe, for it is cowardly to doubt.
There is that within thee which compels thee to
       believe; so that thou shalt triumphantly
       affirm, "I know."
Behold! The wrath of spirit against spirit is
       the raging of wave against wave, wherein
       is the strength of the ocean.
The diversity of spirit, which is infinite as the
       universe, is but the diversity of one soul.
       The diversity of spirit is God's joy.

.

Salvation

"SAVE thy soul," saith the preacher. "Be that
       thy one care."
Is there then nothing more urgent for thee than
       to save thy soul? Was it for that only
       that spirit was entrusted to thee?
"Live rightly," saith the preacher, "that thou
       mayest have peace; and blessedness hereafter."
Is it for thine own comfort that thou wilt live
       rightly? With a little virtue wilt thou
       bargain for heaven?
"God seeks thee," saith the preacher. "He implores
       thee to come to him. For very love
       of thee he reaches out both hands to save
       thee."
And wilt thou turn to God in the love of thyself?
       And wilt thou love God to save thy soul?
Is it for her soul's sake that a mother loves?
       Does she deny herself that she may be
       blessed hereafter?
And what is thy soul that it is so precious
       to thee, and thy salvation that thou must
       care for it ?
Thy soul is but one among the souls of men;
       and in the company of the great, what is it?
And beside the Spirit it is less than a glow-worm
       shining against the sun. In the midst of
       the living heaven what art thou beside the
       souls of stars?
Thou and all things yearn after salvation. If
       thou save thyself alone, thou hast done
       nothing.
Men, yea, and the stars, call upon thee for help.
       But thou broodest on thy soul.
If indeed thou hast a soul, forget it. Come out
       from it, and enter into the hope and fear
       that is greater than thou.
Sacrifice even thy soul gladly if the world need.
       Or if thou canst save it, save it not to be
       thine, but to be God's.

.

Athena

DAUGHTER of the Most High! Spirit that
       reignest in the minds of men!
Thou art that ,through which all living things
       are kin, even the highest with the lowest.
In the beginning thou didst enter into the
       waters; and there was life.
Thou didst make for thyself creatures; and
       thou dwellest as a spirit in each.
Thou didst lead the beasts towards wisdom,
       that there might be men.
Thou wert in the minds of the first peoples
       when they wearied of brutishness, when
       they opened their eyes and saw beauty.
Thou makest the peoples to conquer the earth
       and tame the lightning and understand the
       stars, that their spirits may be enlarged in
       wisdom and virtue.
Thou wilt make of mankind a noble being,
       even Humanity thy minister.
Thou dwellest in each of thy servants, to direct
       his ways.
Thou makest thy men heroes; thy women are
       high-souled.
In evil times thou enlightenest the mind with
       fortitude. Thou hast established the
       spirit in wisdom.
Thou art not dismayed by the darkness of
       heaven and the baseness of men. Thou
       understandest, and contrivest light.
For thou art a sure truth in the mind, and a
       security against dismay.
Thou art the peace whence comes faith, and
       the blessedness that can accept all sorrow.
Thou restrainest thine anger, because thou
       understandest.
Thy love is calm and has few words; but it
       changes not, for thou lovest with understanding.
Thou temperest joy from excess. A quiet
       heart is thy home.
Thou art the serene sky, and the wind of the
       hills. Thou dwellest behind steadfast eyes.
Spirit, be with us lest we fall again into brutishness,
       lest we be scattered again into the dust.
Take us to be thy ministers, that we may
       spread thy good word.

.

Apollo

POET, whose song is the universe! Creator, who
       hast made the world as the expression of
       thine art!
Thou hast taken stars and space to be thy language.
       Life and death is the music of thy lyre.
From the hearts of men thou strikest thy rich
       chords. Thou soundest a melody out of
       each man's life.
Thy work is terrible and fair, for thou hast no
       aim but beauty.
Thou hast set joy to shine forth against sorrow,
       as the blue sky in the midst of the
       storm.
Thou carest not for the happiness of men. For
       beauty only hast thou care.
Thou wilt not make sorrow to cease, for tragedy
       is beautiful.
Therefore are hearts broken, even to fulfil thy
       harmony.
Therefore are souls degraded into the pit. Yea,
       even souls are destroyed.
Therefore are the nations crushed, and all the
       creatures of life swept away.
For thy universe is a great music; wherein is
       terror, darkness, and a singing melody of joy;
Wherein is strife and victory; and a haunting despair;
Wherein is love lyric, and love serene; wherein
       is love triumphant, and love overthrown
       by Time.
Thou hast struck forth thy universe in an ecstasy
       that it may perfectly declare thy thought.
Thou attainest the whole span of beauty, and
       the harmony thereof is passing sweet and wild.
Thy sign is the sun, which burns upon the sea
       in his uprising, and emblazons the heaven
       with fire;
Which kindles all dark things into splendour,
       and exalts a man to cry, "Hail, God,
       my brother! "
For all who create are thy kin; and all men create;
Both the makers of song and music, and they
       that speak through colour and form;
They that contrive great books, and they that
       live fair lives;
They that mould peoples, and they that bring
       up sons to be noble.
Master! Breathe into us thy spirit, that we may
       create beauty every day;
That our lives may be as a song, that is sung in
       harmony with thee.

.

Artemis

SPIRIT! Who art purity on the white mountains,
       which inhabit the zenith with steadfastness;
Who art purity in the crescent moon, that rises
       in the dawn and is lost in the sun’s light;
Who art purity in the frosty sky; and in the
       lightning also;
Who art purity in the soul, and lookest out
       from the eyes like morning.
In a world that is spirit thou art spirit excellent.
       In a world that is divine thou art
       the holy of holies.
Where all is beauty thou art that for which
       beauty strives. Where all is love it is
       thou that are beloved.
Creation aspires to thee. She exists for thy
       worship.
As for man, when thou makest his mind thy
       holy place he knows thee, and his life
       prophesies thee.
But thou dwellest apart from the multitude,
       and thy visitation is to the elect.
To him that pleases thee thou hast stooped in
       his slumber to kiss him; and his dream is
       of thee, and his desire is toward thee
       henceforth for ever.
Thou hast stood in his path on the mountain,
       or in the starlight, and he has bowed
       down in terror and joy.
For thou art terrible; and if thine elect err
       thou wilt destroy his soul.
But if he keep him pure for thee and worship
       thee with his whole heart, there is no joy
       beside his.
Goddess, dwell in us! For it is better to be
       thine than our own.

.

Our Lady of Heaven

MOTHER, who art in all life; who art the
       sweetness wherein is strength;
Who makest the maiden tender-hearted, and
       the matron steadfast;
Who fillest the mind with loving-kindness, and
       makest the heart strong to protect;
Who puttest into the trees the desire to bear
       fruit, and into the beasts joy in their young.
Thou didst make the round world to bring
       forth life, and yield her sweetness day by day.
In the beginning thou didst conceive the living
       fire of heaven; wherefore thou wilt not
       cease to give thanks.
The stars are thy children. Thou watchest
       over them with loving pride.
Thou art the present smiling upon all that is
       to come, glorying in the child that shall
       be fulfilled.
Thou art humanity our sweet mother, who
       liveth in her children's joy.
Thou art in every woman; and the hearts of
       men are not without thee.
Thou art the mild influence of the evening
       persuading men to rest.
Thou art the blue sky, that puts away our
       sorrow, as a mother laughing over her child.
Thou art a whisper that is everywhere saying
       "There is nothing to fear."
Mother, dwell in thy daughters that they may
       be like to thee; and in thy sons that they
       may know thee and do thee service.

.

Jaweh

O GOD, whose law is upon the heavens; whose
       law is not broken;
Who orderest the courses of the stars, and
       directest the rain drops;
There is nothing that errs from thy direction;
       the obedience is exact.
Thou settest thy creatures one against another,
       and awardest victory according to thy pleasure.
Thou commandest the oak tree to grow into
       majesty, that thou mayest triumph in thy lightning.
Thou makest merry in the thunder; the
       earthquake is the stirring of thy hands.
Thou hast made for thyself an enemy to war
       upon thee. Thou hast given him courage
       and a sword, that thou mayest glory in
       his fortitude.
Thou hast made man to labour; and if his
       work displease thee, thou scatterest it like chaff.
Thou hast appeared to man in splendour, so that
       he cannot forget.
Thou hast set thy precept in his heart, and if
       he err therefrom he shall die.
Thou hast given to one strength to keep thy
       commandment, and to another thou hast
       ordained sin.
To the one thou hast awarded peace even in
       sorrow. For the other thou hast set a
       fiery hell in his heart to torment him.
O God, we cannot understand thy government.
       Thy justice is not ours.
But what thou wilt, that is just. O God,
       conform our will to thine.

.

Satan

THOU who rebellest against the Almighty in
       all his dominion, scorning to be a slave
       even under him;
Who puttest bitterness into the cup of his
       victory, and laughest in his face out of Hell;
Who art for ever overpowered and never conquered;
       who hast no hope and desirest no respite.
Who hast thine own wisdom, whereby thou
       hast laid bare the treachery of the Almighty;
       and thine own virtue, which
       is to be true to the wisdom thou hast gained;
Who art God unto thyself, preserving thyself
       with a strong will.
It is thou that makest the uprooted tree to
       sprout, and the stag at bay to be terrible.
It is thou that puttest wrath into a man among
       his enemies, and into him that stands up
       one against the world.
Thou art the god of heroes, and of those who
       battle against fate.
Teach us thy wisdom that we may scorn the
       Almighty; and thy fortitude that we may
       not shrink to cast him off.
We hail thee, thou God in Man! We magnify
       thee against God in Heaven.

.

Christ

THOU lovest all things. Thou sharest all hope
       and fear.
Thou bearest the pain of the whole world, and
       its joy also.
Thou respectest the life of a gnat. Thou
       treadest not upon the dwelling of the ants.
Thou knowest well the strength of desire. Thou
       hast entered into the sins of all men.
Thou sayest to him who hates himself "Friend";
       and to him who has lost heart thou imputest
       courage.
Thou trustest him who will not trust himself.
       Thou hast taken him to be thy minister.
Thou respectest the bitterness of him whose
       work is lost, and thou sheddest sweetness
       over him.
If any victor be puffed up, thou understandest
       and smilest at him. Thou openest his
       heart, and his pride blows away.
If any two contend, each calling his cause holy,
       thou exultest with both; but into the heart
       of each thou whisperest understanding of
       the other.
Thou holdest out thy hand to the outcast; and
       thou drawest all the peoples together.
Thou losest thyself in every man and woman.
       Thou hast forgotten thyself for ever in love.
Thou hast reached beyond man's wisdom, and
       thou hast come again into the faith of a
       child.
Thou understandest the wisdom of the
       Almighty, and thou art gladly at one
       with him.
Oh thou pattern unto all men, who dwellest in
       the heart of every man! Oh thou God in
       Man, who knowest thyself God in Heaven!

.

Brahma

THOU everlasting, thou all-pervading, in whom
       all things have their being!
As we feel our bodies, so feelest thou earth and
       heaven. Even as our bodies are filled
       each with a life, so heaven is alive with thee.
Thou feelest the drifting of a mote in the air,
       and of light in the ether.
Thou feelest the passion of two lovers, and
       the dying of a star.
As our spirits excel over our bodies, so over the
       heaven transcendest thou.
The flesh is but a dream of the spirit, and
       creation is one of thy thoughts.
Thou art the only fact. The rest is thine imagining.
Thou dwellest in thyself for ever. Thou
       knowest thy whole self through and
       through.
The blossoming of this universe passeth not
       away. For thee all time is now.
Time is, because there is blossoming; wherein
       thou hast made beauty to be.
The soul of a man extendeth beyond the
       heavens; for thou art his soul.
The soul of a man containeth the whole past and
       the whole future; for thou art his soul.
The soul of a man containeth all souls; for thou
       art his soul.
Thou hast confined thyself in each of us, that
       thou mayest put on infinite diversity.
Behold, we bring thee each the diversity that
       thou hast willed. We long to enter into thee.

.

War

"COME forth, oh ye young men of all the
       nations, for the Fiend is risen against you
       to destroy! "
Who is the Fiend that is risen against us, and
       wherefore wills he to destroy?
"He is your brother, who aspires Godward;
       and he is in arms, lest ye overthrow him
       and destroy."
Wherefore should we come forth against our
       brother ? We will not overthrow the
       servant of the Most High.
"Be ye then overthrown and made nothing,
       and be ye abolished from among the
       servants of the Most High!"
God commanded peace, and we will preserve it.
       In the ways of peace we serve the Most High.
"God is enshrined among you, and ye shall
       preserve him. Ye shall not meekly watch
       his temple be cast down."
So also say our brethren whom the Fiend
       possesses; yet seek we not their temple to
       cast down.
"The Fiend is risen against you, is risen against
       you! Shall the holy place of the Lord
       God be defiled?
For the land that bred you is the holy place of
       God; but the land also of the enemy is
       holy land."
We will not defile the holy lands with blood,
       and lay before God an offering of destruction.
"Arise! And overthrow the oppressor, who
       marshals your brethren against you to make you slaves."
The oppressor also marshals us. We will not,
       help him to enslave.
"Rise up, ye young men of all the nations and
       learn war, that ye may overthrow the oppressor
       from all his dominion!
The Lord God commands you to war, that the
       flame of your spirit may be kindled, that
       ye may feel God.
For the shrine of the Most High is defiled
       in you, and he will purge it with war.
Therefore put off the habit of peace, and throw
       away self, and set aside your heart's desire.
Come forth! oh ye young men! For the Lord
       God has ordained a sacrament of courage,
       that the spirit of his peoples may be born again."
Behold, then, we come forth in our millions!
       Behold, we are gathered together in nations
       of armed men!
We have put off the habit of peace, and
       thrown away self, and set aside our heart's desire.
We young men have parted from our beloved,
       whom we thought to wed.
We newly wedded shall not meet again. She
       that loves shall be left alone desolate.
Homes shall be rooted up. Children shall cry
       after their fathers in vain.
Mothers shall give up their sons. Fathers shall
       be alone in their old age.
The dead shall be a mighty host; and there
       shall be agony, and horror, and grief immeasurable.
The innocent shall be trampled under foot, and
       the victor shall be debased with bloodthirstiness.
But the peoples shall rise up, and the oppressor
       shall fall.
War music is in the air like a summons, and the
       heart beats to the drum.
Therefore let us go forth gladly even into the
       place that is Hell. Surely we will go
       singing even down into the pit.
For the Most High God is within us, and him
       we will preserve.

.

Peace

I HEARD a voice calling out of the battle,
       "Peace! let us make peace!" And the
       armed hosts answered and sighed, "Peace,
       give us Peace !"
All men and women in all the earth longed also
       for peace; saying, "We are weary, we are
       chastened, let us love one another and
       advance the spirit."
Peace shall come again. May the peoples be
       made one!
We shall gather up the threads again, even the
       threads that war cut.
Many shall come home rejoicing. Many shall
       receive back their beloved.
The spirit shall be kindled again in all men
       and women, and they shall worship together.
They shall give thanks for the new age, and for
       the victory of the dead.
And the souls of the dead shall be gathered
       into the spirit; and the spirit shall flourish
There shall be a new heaven and a new earth,
       and joy shall be again. But the dead shall
       not come back.

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