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Walter Murdoch (1874–1970).  The Oxford Book of Australasian Verse.  1918.
 
81. Love and Sacrifice
 
By Bernard O’Dowd
 
 
CAN we not consecrate
  To man and God above
This volume of our great
  Supernal tide of love?
 
’Twere wrong its wealth to waste        5
  On merely me and you,
In selfish touch and taste,
  As other lovers do.
 
This love is not as theirs:
  It came from the Divine,        10
Whose glory still it wears,
  And print of Whose design.
 
The world is full of woe,
  The time is blurred with dust,
Illusions breed and grow,        15
  And eyes’ and flesh’s lust.
 
The mighty league with Wrong
  And stint the weakling’s bread;
The very lords of song
  With Luxury have wed.        20
 
Fair Art deserts the mass,
  And loiters with the gay;
And only gods of brass
  Are popular to-day.
 
Two souls with love inspired,        25
  Such lightning love as ours,
Could spread, if we desired,
  Dismay among such powers:
 
Could social stables purge
  Of filth where festers strife:        30
Through modern baseness surge
  A holier tide of life.
 
Yea, two so steeped in love
  From such a source, could draw
The angels from above        35
  To lead all to their Law.
 
We have no right to seek
  Repose in rosy bower,
When Hunger thins the cheek
  Of childhood every hour:        40
 
Nor while the tiger, Sin,
  ’Mid youths and maidens roams,
Should Duty skulk within
  These selfish cosy homes.
 
Our place is in the van        45
  With those crusaders, who
Maintain the rights of man
  ’Gainst despot and his crew.
 
If sacrifice may move
  Their load of pain from men,        50
The greatest right of Love
  Is to renounce It then.
 
Ah, Love, the earth is woe’s
  And sadly helpers needs:
And, till its burden goes,        55
  Our work is—where it bleeds.
 

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