33    


FIERCELY THEY rend in pieces the carpet woven during ages of prayer for the welcome of the world's best hope.

        The great preparations of love lie a heap of shreds, and there is nothing on the ruined altar to remind the mad crowd that their god was to have come. In a fury of passion they seem to have burnt their future to cinders, and with it the season of their bloom.

        The air is harsh with the cry, 'Victory to the Brute!' The children look haggard and aged; they whisper to one another that time revolves but never advances, that we are goaded to run but have nothing to reach, that creation is like a blind man's groping.

        I said to myself, 'Cease thy singing. Song is for one who is to come, the struggle without an end is for things that are.'

        The road, that ever lies along like some one with ear to the ground listening for footsteps, to-day gleans no hint of coming guest, nothing of the house at its far end.

        My lute said, 'Trample me in the dust.'

        I looked at the dust by the roadside. There was a tiny flower among thorns. And I cried, 'The world's hope is not dead!'

        The sky stooped over the horizon to whisper to the earth, and a hush of expectation filled the air. I saw the palm leaves clapping their hands to the beat of inaudible music, and the moon exchanged glances with the glistening silence of the lake.

        The road said to me, 'Fear nothing!' and my lute said, 'Lend me thy songs!'