With douleur and with gay despair
The elder turned his back to go.
The soldier leapt and held his arm,
Without intending any harm,
But serious as an intoned psalm,
He spoke in tone sombre and low.
'My name is George,' the soldier said,
'A Roman soldier, I;
I do not fear a fearsome beast
Nor tremble when to die.
My soul is made of sterner stuff,
My heart beats bold and high.
Of peace to thee I lately spoke,
A peace that comes with war,
A peace with gifts attached to it
Of roads and Roman law;
But ill I spoke perhaps, for there's
A peace that counts for more.
You see this helm, this red-dyed cloak,
These boots, this gladius:
The symbols of my rank are they,
Esteemed and glorious.
And truly I'm great Caesar's man
And serve him with my life,
But there's agreater one than he,
Than whom a greater cannot be-
He makes the wretched blind to see
And brings an end to strife.
I am a Roman, goodly chief,
Its proudest citizen;
But greater is a kingdom
That transcends human ken;
And I too am its citizen
And member of that race;
My liege lord is the God of men
And arbiter of grace.
A dual citizen you see,
And Rome's the lesser part;
Rome and Caesar hold my flesh
But God does hold my heart.'
BOOKS RECEIVED: A Catholic Defense of Capital Punishment - Anything written by Edward Feser is reliable and worth time. He recently joined forces with Joseph M. Bessette to create a new book exploring Catholic tea...
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