Works in the Bulletin 1913

Here is the tale of Henry Smith,
Who taught that God was but a myth -
Of what befell the earth's array
Upon the last great Judgment Day.

In serried ranks before the Throne, Where He in splendour sat alone, The countless peoples were arrayed, Some confident, some sore afraid.
"Stand out, O, Henry Smith, stand out!" Thus did the usher angels shout. "Stand out, Professor Smith, And answer for your deeds forthwith."
Lo, at the naming of this man Through all the Just a shudder ran - The stringent Just who knew him well, This scientist who laughed at Hell.
From out the ranks stepped Henry Smith, The man who'd named his God a myth; With fearless tread he walked alone Into the space before the Throne.
A holy bishop, standing near, Spake softly in his neighbor's ear: "Oh, he will make a fitting brand!" He whispered low behind his hand.
"On earth I knew his teaching well. He scorned our creed; he scoffed at hell. It is the famed Professor Smith Who strove to prove our God a myth.
"And what men called his 'theory,' Conceived in wicked blasphemy, Like raging fire spread o'er the world, And millions to perdition hurled.
"A scientist, so he was named, He held that no man should be blamed For sins he sinned of his own will.... Now, mark the grinding of God's mill!"
"Stand out, stand out, O, Henry Smith, And answer for your deeds forthwith." And, fearless, as he lived and died, "I answer," Henry Smith replied.
With necks outstretched, with heads thrust forth, The stern, the unforgiving Just Stood back, with Blame in ev'ry eye, To watch the Wicked Man go by.
Across the space he walked alone, And stood before the mighty Throne. Then Henry Smith bowed low his head. "In many things I erred," he said.
With bated breath, with heads out thrust, On tiptoe stood the list'ning Just. No man among them held a doubt Now God's high wrath would thunder out.
But with a gaze that could but bless, A gaze of wondrous tenderness, God looked upon the bended head. "You erred. Poor little man!" He said.
"You erred. And in this great array Is there one mortal who can say He has not erred in what he thought, In what he guessed, or proved, or taught?
"Nay, men there were who held my name A synonym for wrath and blame - Who thought, their foolish souls to save, God could condemn while men forgave.
"O, foolish mortals! to conspire To grasp my mighty plan entire - To each believe he held the key To all the cosmic mystery.
"And now you know, O, Henry Smith, That your Creator is no myth. And all your keenly-reasoned scheme Is shattered like a childish dream.
"You were a man of Sin, forsooth, In that you strove to know the truth; In that you used your puny might To spurn the false, and seek the right.
"Be comforted, poor little man, For in the Universal Plan You did your task amid the rest. And all Man's word was for the best.
"Now, foolish children, all shall see, At last, the ill-guessed mystery." And, leaning from his mighty chair, God smiled, and Paradise was there.

The Bulletin, 31 July 1913, p7

Copyright © Perry Middlemiss 2003