The House of Prayer by Mabel Forrest

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They built a church on the city heights,
   A wonderful house of stone;
   The bravest building a man had known 
Or dreamt of in fancy flights.

They built it well from the city's gold,
   For the man of grief, they said,
   Who wandered the desert begging bread, 
Would repay them a thousandfold.

And good men preached of the end of time,
   Of the promise of years long gone,
   While under its shadow the world moved on
In sorrow and want and crime.

The choir sang there in the afterglow,
   The voices of angels born,
   Dreaming of earthly joys forsworn 
And the market place below.

Maidens brought flowers for altars bare,
   And danced off with eager feet,  
   Glad to be back in the sun-warmed street 
Where men called their faces fair.

The church spire reached thro' the misty blue,
   And the sparrows flew chirping by, 
   Wondering man should build so high 
To a God whom he never knew.

The stained-glass windows were emblems rare
   To the rich man's memory,
   With a Christ who silenced a stormy sea 
In the garb which the poor men wear.

Oh! They built a church for a lasting fame,
   For the city's saving grace,
   But the crime and grief in the market place
Are gathering -- just the same !

First published in The Brisbane Courier, 3 August 1901

Author reference sites: AustlitAustralian Dictionary of Biography

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This page contains a single entry by Perry Middlemiss published on August 3, 2014 7:39 AM.

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