The Unknown God

A poem by Henry Lawson

The President to Kingdoms,
As in the Days of Old;
The King to the Republic,
As it had been foretold.
They could not read the spelling,
They would not hear the call;
They would not brook the telling
Of Writing on the Wall.

I buy my Peace with Slaughter,
With Peace I fashion War;
I drown the land with water,
With land I build the shore.
I walk with Son and Daughter
Where Ocean rolled before.
I build a town where sea was
A tower where tempests roar.

From bays in distant islands,
And rocks in lonely seas,
With unseen Death in silence
I smite mine enemies!
The great Cathedral crashes
Where once a city stood;
I build again on ashes
And breed on clotted blood!

I link the seas together,
And at my sign and will
The train runs on the ocean bed,
The great ship climbs the hill!
For pastime I flood deserts
With water from the rill;
And in my tireless leisure hours
I empty lakes, and fill.

I plumb the seas beneath us
And fathom skies above,
Yet I make Peace for hatred
And I make War for love.
I race beneath the ranges
And sit where Mystery dwells
Yet mankind sees no changes,
They ask for “miracles!”

I own the world and span its
Lone lands from Pole to Pole;
I live in other planets,
Yet do not know my soul
The soul that none may fathom,
Whose secrets none may tell,
The soul that none may humble,
The Soul Unconquerable!

I am the God of Ages!
I am the Unknown God!
My life is written pages
Wherever man hath trod.
From bounds of Polar regions,
To where the Desert reigns,
I’ve left my myriad legions
On countless vanished plains.

And I shall reign for ever
On earth while oceans roll,
In shape of man, or woman,
Through my immortal soul;
Yet I can love and suffer,
Be angry, or be mild,
And I can bow me down and weep
Just like a mortal child.

I conquer Death and Living,
And Fiends in shape of men,
For I rejoice in giving
Not to receive again.
For I am Man! and Mortal!
And Mammon’s Towers must fall,
Though Greed draws all his pencils through
The Writing on the Wall!

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