The Stranger




THE STRANGER within my gate,


He may be true or kind,

but he does not talk my talk -

I cannot feel his mind.

I see the face and eyes and the mouth,

But not the soul behind.


The men of my own stock

They may do me ill or well,

But they tell the lies I am wonted to,

They are used to the lies I tell

and we do not need interpreters

When we go to buy and sell.


The Stranger within my gates,

He may be evil or good,

But I cannot tell what powers control -

What reasons sway his mood;

Nor when gods of far-off land

shall repossess his blood.


The men of my own stock,

Bitter bad they may be,

But, at least they hear the things I hear,

And see the things I see;

And whatever I think of them and their likes

They think of the likes of me.


This was my fathers belief

and this is also mine;

Let the corn be all one sheaf -

And the grapes be all one vine,

Ere our children's teeth are set on edge

By bitter bread and wine.




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