[Editor: This poem by John Shaw Neilson was published in Ballad and Lyrical Poems (1923).]
He was the Christ.
Our laws, the wisest, haste to die:
Our creeds like idle tales are told:
The loving heart, the lips that bless,
The shadowy centuries make not old.
This life, that ever runs to pain,
He felt it all: its rise and glow,
The bitterness, the ache, and toil,
All that the moving myriads know.
He drew no sword; but all men’s swords
Grew bloodier in the blood-red years:
— Only the hope, that would not die,
Shone tremulous in a world of tears.
The white mist dances in our eyes;
But still, in every age and land,
His heart beats for the little child,
He writes of mercy on the sand.
John Shaw Neilson, Ballad and Lyrical Poems, Sydney: The Bookfellow in Australia, 1923, page 54
myriad = an immense number of people, things, or elements (an extremely great, huge, or large number; countless, an innumerable multitude); ten thousand (from the Greek “myrias”, meaning “ten thousand”)
tremulous = affected with, or characterised by, trembling, quivering, shaking, or unsteadyness (in body or in voice); quavering; characterised by anxiety, fear, timidity, hesitancy, nervousness, timidity, or lack of confidence
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