They could not take the living God away,
Although they left His altar blank and bare;
Their ruthless hands could never rend and tear
More than the walls, they could not hope to sway
The utter faith that is the nation's heart;
They could not bring a real destruction where
Hymn music had been softly wont to play!
They smothered beauty, and tore hope apart;
But in the house of One who is supreme,
The marks they left will now be sanctified;
The broken walls, when war is but a dream,
Will be a monument to those who died;
And every shell-torn scar will stand for One
whose hands were scarred, the Christ men crucified!
I think, perhaps, the very morning sun,
Will slant more gently through the broken tower--
And, in good season, that some tender flower
Will bloom beside the ruined threshold, where
Folk paused before they entered in to prayer....