How have we fallen from our high estate,
O Lord! plunged down from heaven!
In wanton pride, in lust for empires great,
For riches have we striven.
Are these not dust and ashes in thy sight,
Swept by thy wind and lost?
Have we not sinned against the Spirit’s might,
Blasphemed the Holy Ghost?
What dost thou ask from all the sons of men?
Atonement for this wrong?
Behold, we lay upon thine altar, then,
A host twelve million strong:
Twelve million dead; they stand before thy face,
An offering for sin;
Their cry goes forth unto the bounds of space;
They crowd thy courts within.
Our dead are they, — friend, foe alike, — our dead;
On sodden battlefield
They laid them down; for us their blood was shed;
By their stripes were we healed:
For our transgressions were they smitten sore;
Slaughtered with shot and shell;
For us the chastisement of peace they bore,
Descending into hell.
Not theirs alone the atoning sacrifice:
Wives, mothers, at the call,
In unity of sorrow paid the price,
Gave of their best, their all :
One was the heartache, one the darkened home;
And one the company
Of living dead, who wait to see God come:
A mighty company.