The Need of the World

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by Ella Wheeler Wilcox

   I know the need of the world,
      Though it would not have me know.
   It would hide its sorrow deep,
      Where only God may go.
   Yet its secret it can not keep;
   It tells it awake, or asleep,
   It tells it to all who will heed,
   And he who runs may read.
      The need of the world I know.

   I know the need of the world,
      When it boasts of its wealth the loudest,
   When it flaunts it in all men’s eyes,
      When its mien is the gayest and proudest.
   Oh! ever it lies—it lies,
   For the sound of its laughter dies
   In a sob and a smothered moan,
   And it weeps when it sits alone.
      The need of the world I know.

   I know the need of the world.
      When the earth shakes under the tread
   Of men who march to the fight,
      When rivers with blood are red
   And there is no law but might,
   And the wrong way seems the right;
   When he who slaughters the most
   Is all men’s pride and boast.
      The need of the world I know.

   I know the need of the world.
      When it babbles of gold and fame,
   It is only to lead us astray
      From the thing that it dare not name,
   For this is the sad world’s way.
   Oh! poor blind world grown grey
   With the need of a thing so near,
   With the want of a thing so dear.
      The need of the world I know.

   The need of the world is love.
      Deep under the pride of power,
   Down under its lust of greed,
      For the joys that last but an hour,
   There lies forever its need.
   For love is the law and the creed
   And love is the unnamed goal
   Of life, from man to the mole.
      Love is the need of the world.

 

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