The Rhyme of the Beast

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Lo, the Beast that rioteth, Sick with hate and coveting --To the sons of men he saith, I will show you a new thing.

This, the Earth, which was the Lord's, Prodigal of rose and vine,I will desolate with swords Till it own that it is mine.

Every brow must bear my brand Every wrist must wear my steel,Every throat be for my hand, Every neck be for my heel.

I will thrust into your souls Unnamed terrors and despairs --Populate the air with ghouls And the sea with murderers.

While I prove that war is war, Saints shall mourn and angels weep,Star commiserate with star, Deep cry out to shuddering deep;

Tigers marvel in their lust At the tale of blood and pain,Pity move the insensate dust, And the very stones complain.

I will twist the tongue of Truth Till her speech be nought but lies,I will kill the faith of Youth, And the hope in Age's eyes.

Not the altar, nor the tomb, Nor the Sufferer on the Tree,Nor the babe within the womb Shall be sacred unto me.

I will rend and rage and cog, Rob and ravish till I die;I will be the Supreme Hog, And the world shall be my sty.

© Crosland Thomas William Hodgson