The people sat in darkness

The people sat in darkness

(The Saviour of the World, Vol V Book IV Poem XXXVI)

The people sat in darkness; none could read
Directions for the way, or see to go:
“Nay, whither go we?” “Whence do we proceed?”
Anxious, they queried sad in accents low:

Their Seers strained dim eyes to penetrate
The heavy darkness, closed on every side:
“What news then bring ye?” cried those desolate,
“The gods, what angers them that they deride

Our impotence, our misery’s extreme?”
Sad poets made reply with Œdipus,
And other tales, each lurid as bad dream,—
As nightmare where no succour is for us,

No issue from our ills: but one or two
Strong spirits pierced the darkness well-nigh through.

St. Matthew iv. 16.
Isaiah ix. 2.

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