The War-Christian's Thanksgiving
The War-Christian’s Thanksgiving.
Oh God of Battles! once again,
With banner, trump and drum,
And garments in Thy wine-press dyed,
To give Thee thanks, we come!
No goats or bullocks, garlanded,
Unto thine altars go—
With brothers’ blood, by brothers shed,
Our glad libations flow.
From pest-house and from dungeon foul,
Where, maimed and torn, they die;
From gory trench and charnel-house,
Where, heap on heap, they lie:
In every groan that yields a soul,
Each shriek a heart that rends—
With every breath of tainted air—
Our homage, Lord, ascends.
We thank thee for the sabre’s gash,
The cannon’s havoc wild;
We bless Thee for the widow’s tears,
The want that starves her child.
We give Thee praise that Thou has lit
The torch and fanned the flame;
That lust and rapine hunt their prey,
Kind Father! in Thy name;
That, for the songs of idle joy
False angels sang of yore,
Thou sendest War on Earth, Ill Will
To Men, forever more.
We know that wisdom, truth and right
To us and ours are given—
That thou hast clothed us with the wrath,
To do the work, of Heaven.
We know that plains and cities waste
Are pleasant in Thine eyes;
Thou lov’st a hearthstone desolate,
Thou lov’st a mourner’s cries.
Let not our weakness fall below
The measure of Thy will,
And while the press hath wine to bleed,
Oh tread it with us still!
Teach us to hate—as Jesus taught
Fond fools, of yore, to love—
Grant us Thy vengeance as our own,
Thy Pity, hide above.
Teach us to turn, with reeking hands,
The pages of Thy word,
And hail the blessed curses there,
On them that sheathe the sword.
Where’er we tread, may deserts spring
Till none are left to slay,
And when the last red drop is shed,
We’ll kneel again—and pray!