Verse > Anthologies > Walter Murdoch, comp. > The Oxford Book of Australasian Verse
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Walter Murdoch (1874–1970).  The Oxford Book of Australasian Verse.  1918.
 
97. Babylon
 
By A. G. Stephens
 
 
BABYLON has fallen! Aye; but Babylon endures
Wherever human folly shines or human folly lures;
Where lovers lingering walk beside, and happy children play,
Is Babylon! Babylon! for ever and for ay.
The plan is rudely fashioned, the dream is unfulfilled,        5
Yet all is in the archetype if but a builder willed;
And Babylon is calling us, the microcosm of men,
To range her walls in harmony and lift her spires again;
The sternest walls, the proudest spires, that ever sun shone on,
Halting a space his burning race to gaze on Babylon.        10
 
Babylon has fallen! Aye; but Babylon shall stand:
The mantle of her majesty is over sea and land.
Hers is the name of challenge flung, a watchword in the fight
To grapple grim eternities and gain the old delight;
And in the word the dream is hid, and in the dream the deed,        15
And in the deed the mastery for those who dare to lead.
Surely her day shall come again, surely her breed be born
To urge the hope of humankind and scale the peaks of morn—
To fight as they who fought till death their bloody field upon,
And kept the gate against the Fate frowning on Babylon.        20
 
Babylon has fallen! Nay; for Babylon falls never;
Her seat is in the aspiring brain, in nerves that leap and quiver:
Upon her towers of ancient dream Prometheus is throned,
And still his ravished spark is flung wherever manhood’s owned.
All vices, crimes, and mutinies were Babylon’s: and then        25
All honours, prides, and ecstasies—for in her streets were Men;
And Man by Man must grow apace, and Man by Man must thrive,
And Man from Man must snatch the torch that lights the race alive:
Yea, here and now her citizens, as in the years far gone,
Stone by stone, and joy with moan, upbuild Babylon.        30
 

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