The Two Ages Poem Rhyme Scheme and Analysis


On a great cathedral window I have seenA
A Summer sunset swoon and sink awayB
Lost in the splendours of immortal artC
Angels and saints and all the heavenly hostsD
With smiles undimmed by half a thousand yearsE
From wall and niche have met my lifted galeF
Sculpture and carving and illumined pageG
And the fair lofty dreams of architectsH
That speak of beauty to the centuriesI
All these have fed me with divine repastsI
Yet in my mouth is left a bitter tasteJ
The taste of blood that stained that age of artC
Those glorious windows shine upon the blackK
And hideous structure of the guillotineA
Beside the haloed countenance of saintsI
There hangs the multiple and knotted lashL
The Christ of love benign and beautifulM
Looks at the torture rack by hate conceivedN
And bigotry sustained The prison cellO
With blood stained walls where starving men went madP
Lies under turrets matchless in their graceI
God what an age How was it that You letQ
Colossal genius and colossal crimeR
Walk for a hundred years across the earthS
Like giant twins How was it then that menT
Conceiving such vast beauty for the worldU
And such large hopes of heaven could entertainV
Such hellish projects for their human kinW
How could the hand that with consummate skillX
And loving patience limned the luminous pageG
Drop pen and brush and seize the branding rodY
To scourge a brother for his differing faithZ
Not great this age in beauty or in artC
Nothing is wrought to day that shall endureA2
For earth's adornment through long centuriesI
Not ours the fervid worship of a GodY
That wastes its splendid opulence on glassI
Leaving but hate for hungry human heartsI
Yet great this age its mighty work is manB2
Knowing himself the universal lifeC2
And great our faith which shows itself in worksI
For human freedom and for racial goodD2
The true religion lies in being kindE2
No age is greater than its faith is broadF2
Through liberty and love men climb to GodY

Ella Wheeler Wilcox


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