When the Shoddy Idols Go [poem by Grant Hervey]

[Editor: This poem by Grant Hervey was published in Australians Yet and Other Verses, 1913.]

When the Shoddy Idols Go

Truer faith this nation needeth — we shall build the Commonweal
When the larger Creed succeedeth and the ancient idols reel !
Man who marches through the ages leaves behind him changing creeds ;
From his day’s swift-turning pages finer truth and wisdom reads !
For the Past with galling shackle binds the prisoned soul of man,
And its priests with cunning tackle, strangle Progress for a span !
But new hymns of adoration in our hearts are breathing low ;
And this Land shall be a Nation when the Shoddy Idols go !

We have bowed to idols olden, mumbled creeds of dumb despair ;
Swinging censers rich and golden we have climbed the altar stair !
But the Truth that will not slumber, woke our hearts with sudden pain,
And our father’s joss is lumber that we pass in new disdain !
Man who drags his old gods slowly through the everlasting years,
Spurns at last each image holy, and his prayers are changed to jeers !
So our fathers dragged Tradition over seas, and bended low —
Fails the last, lone superstition when their Shoddy Idols go !

Thought and Will — these make the Nation, for the courage of the soul
Stirs the flesh with jubilation when its faith is strong and whole !
Wherefore we shall doubt no longer — doubt is handmaid unto Death ;
Find ye creeds of Truth and stronger, thus the law eternal saith !
And this land is Truthward turning in these new, aspiring days —
When the hearts of men are burning, clear the path, unbar the ways !
And they see the newer dawning — signs are these that plainly show
That the sepulchre is yawning where the Shoddy Idols go.

Stronger faith this land requireth — with the soul as well as steel,
With the Truth that man desireth we shall build the Commonweal !
Man who marches through the ages leaves dead creeds and faiths behind ;
And To-morrow’s priests and sages will not crucify the Mind !
For the Past with fetters galling strangled Thought upon her bier,
But the sound of idols falling echoes loudly in mine ear !
Hail ! New hymns of jubilation in our hearts now swing and glow ;
And this land shall be a Nation when the Shoddy Idols go !

Grant Hervey. Australians Yet and Other Verses, Thomas C. Lothian, Melbourne, 1913, pages 120-122

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