Clarence Michael James Stanislaus Dennis
The Shrine - Poem by Clarence Michael James Stanislaus Dennis
For them we have builded a temple
To stand as a visible sign.
For them we have builded a temple,
And set in its great heart a shrine.
Ere the dull years shall tarnish their story,
While the spirit bides close to us yet,
We have set up a shrine to their glory,
Lest men should forget.
We have raised upa visible temple,
Hewn from impermanent stone;
And the spirit shall dwell in the temple;
Yet not in the temple alone.
Lest the spirit of that great oblation,
Eternal, transcending all pride,
Dwell, too, in the heart of their nation,
In vain they have died.
For a holier place has enshrined them
From treacherous time's swift decay:
A temple more hallowed has held them
Inviolate unto today.
But the friends of their friends, too, shall perish,
The seed of their seed shall grow old,
While for ever the flame that these cherish
A nation must hold.
So soon do their feet grow aweary
Of treading where glory had birth,
So soon do their souls grow aweary
Of transient things of the earth.
And they go to the great consummating,
The goal of their pilgrimage won,
To triumphant battalions awaiting
They drift one by one.
When the last tired veteran totters
From this, fame's unstable abode;
When the last tired footfall has echoed
And died in the dust of the road;
Tho' they boast down the years of his story,
If the spirit he left us shall fail
No shrine may envision that glory
No temple avail.
We have builded a visible temple;
We have set us a tangible sign
For a symbol of that truer temple,
A mark of that holier shrine;
And nought of war's long tarnished story
Dwells there, not of pride nor of pain,
But all that remains of their glory
Who died not in vain.
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