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Poems by Isaac Rosenberg

; EARLIER TOEMS A BALLAD

; EARLIER TOEMS A BALLAD OF WHITECHAPEL God's mercy shines And our full hearts must make record of this, For grief that burst from out its dark confines Into strange sunlit bliss. I stood where glowed The merry glare of golden whirring lights Above the monstrous mass that seethed and flowed Through one of London's nights. I watched the gleams Of jagged warm lights on shrunk faces pale : I heard mad laughter as one hears in dreams Or Hell's harsh lurid tale. The traffic rolled, A gliding chaos populous of din, A steaming wail at doom the Lord had scrawled For perilous loads of sin. 155

POEMS BY ISAAC ROSENBERG And my soul thought : " What fearful land have my steps wandered to? God's love is everywhere, but here is naught Save love His anger slew." And as I stood Lost in promiscuous bewilderment, Which to my mazed soul was wonder-food, A girl in garments rent Peered 'neath lids shamed And spoke to me and murmured to my blood. My soul stopped dead, and all my horror Hamed At her forgot of God. Her hungered eyes, Craving and yet so sadly spiritual, Shone like the unsmirched corner of a jewel Where else foul blemish lies. I walked with her Because my heart thought, " Here the soul is clean, The fragrance of the frankincense and myrrh Is lost in odours mean." She told me how The shadow of black death had newly come 1 56