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Good Will to Men

From The Tacoma Times, December 25, 1912. By Berton Braley.

 Diverse feasts upon his golden plate
 And Lazarus is at his gate,
 The same starved beggar whom we know
 From nineteen hundred years ago,
 In reeking slum and tenement,
 The children whimper, wan and spent,
 And hunger-sharpened tongues deride
 The mockery of Christmas-tide,
 And mothers weep in woe forlorn—
 Was it for this that Christ was born?
 In flaring light and glaring hall
 Vice holds her strident carnival,
 And mortals fight and steal and lie
 For gold to join this revel high;
 Men sell their truth, their souls, their fame,
 And women know the taint of shame
 By greed and passion downward whirled
 Along the Highway of the World;
 And true men cry, in wrath and scorn,
 “Was it for this that Christ was born?”
 And yet—though toilers taste distress
 While wasters roll in idleness,
 Though Mammon seems to hold in sway
 The people of this later day,
 It is but seeming—truth and right
 Are leading all the world to light,
 And old abuses fall to dust
 Before our new-born faith and trust.
 We are not heedless—Christmas chimes
 Ring the true spirit of the times,
 Of “Peace on Earth, Good Will to Men,”
 Brave words that thrill and thrill again,
 For in the deeps of every heart
 The little flames of fervor start,
 And grow and grow until we burn
 All bitter wrongs to overturn,
 Till all the world we’re children of
 Shall know the perfect rule of Love!

Ah Gentle Savior, pierced and torn,
It was for THIS that You were born!

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