Home > Uncategorized > Richard Le Gallienne: Christ at Notre Dame: abhorred be they who ever draw again the sword

Richard Le Gallienne: Christ at Notre Dame: abhorred be they who ever draw again the sword

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Anti-war essays, poems, short stories and literary excerpts

British writers on peace and war

American writers on peace and against war

Richard Le Gallienne: Selections on war

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Richard Le Gallienne
The Lord Christ Came to Notre Dame

The Lord Christ came to Notre Dame;
Unseen within the shadows there,
He heard the high resounding psalm,
The chanted immemorial prayer;
From a far wandering he had come,
The length and breadth of Christendom.

‘Twas Christmas Eve, a solemn mirth
Filled the great fane with music sweet,
Singing the gladness of his birth.
The snow was falling in the street,
The world went by with homeless feet.

“Peace and good will…” Beneath His hood
The tears stole down – His dream of good
How little men had understood,
How often, calling on His name,
Had these old streets run wild with flame,
And yonder river roared with blood!

Slaying each other for His sake,
Marching for him with fife and drum,
Building with fagot and with stake
The gentle-hearted world to come,
With torture a new world to make,
And call it Christendom;
With fury to make fury cease,
Dancing in blood, sweet land of France,
To teach the nations how to dance,
And out of murder to bring peace;
Forging new chains to make men free,
And call it Liberty.

The Lord Christ came to Notre Dame;
From a far wandering He had come,
The length and breadth of Christendom,
And whereso’er His feet had trod,
Men, in the holy name of God,
Warred on each other, crying “Peace,”
Warring, they cried, that war should cease.
The Lord Christ bowed his head, and smiles,
Brightened His tears, for in His breast,
From the sea’s multitudinous miles,
A dove had lighted and had taken rest.

Then fell a hush, and in the place
Of the Lord Cardinal His face
Shone strangely, the strange face of Love,
And on His lifted hand the dove.
Still was the high-resounding psalm,
And then, omnipotently calm,
The Lord Christ spake in Notre Dame:
“Be they for evermore abhorred
Who calling upon Christ their Lord
Shall ever draw again the sword.”
So spake Lord Christ in Notre Dame.

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