The Death of Christendom
Donald P. Goodman IIIVersion 1.0,
Where now the horseman who used to ride here? Where is the rider who rode from the dawn? Down from the mountains, he dropped from the moon, the moon of the harvest; a mighty hero, he conquered and changed; they were counted chosen whom he brought into sunlight though begging for sin. Where now that greatness, hooded and graycloaked? Where now the kingdom he made when he came? The blackness of night the brave hero knew, yet great was his sword; the Graycloak struck barbarian armies who blasphemed his arms, who hated the sun and held to themselves, longing for and loving the darkness that lured them to death. The horseman died in their hate; the world wept. Weeping they went down to the city the horseman had sought. In the darkness of dawn the Graycloak tore down the grave which had trapped him; he was graycloaked in truth, and men did not see him; marred was their sight; then he drew forth his sword and they died to themselves; even kings then did build up the kingdom he brought, so great was the light that the Graycloak had loosed. Another great horseman this Horseman did send, to ride through the world, to ring the bells while the ages of earth endure to the end. And the kingdom grew great, and all kings were glad, for they loved the lordship of the Horseman Lord, who had sent forth the Second, so mighty and strong, who had best served the Moon-Son with beautiful markings on canvas, and statues, incredible songs, so beautiful the strongest began to soften and shed soft tears, shying from terror and seeking for goodness. Such for the Graycloak the Second had made! And so they mastered all of the arts which the ancients achieved, turning them all to the terrible Horseman and praising his name. So please tell us now: where now is the kingdom, where now is the court of the glorious Graycloak, who is goodness itself? Like rain on the ranges of mountains it ran; it flowed away past, far from the present, once watering life, now left withering waste. Like wind in the meadow it wound towards the master, then vanished to air from the ages of earth; it once blew strongly, winding in sunlight, hitting and conquering, hearing and carrying words of the east to the west of the world; but then it was gone; there were no gusts; the air became sterile and still. Like snow, which wends to the ground and then whitens the world, and purifies nations, so pretty that nameless its beauty may rest, and its beautiful reason for being lies but in the beauty it has; like snow it has melted, mixing with mud and losing the beauty it loosed on the land. Like leaves on a tree, towering so long, while spreadings its limbs and gathering light to grow ever greater and nourish the ground; like a tree it has aged, and terrible ages of long-lasting torment of light that is taken by low-lying clouds; the light that was counted as ever a bounty to a beautiful earth is lost; and the tree whose leaves were all green now darkens and dies and its leaves become dark, starved of the sunlight they drank from the sky, and they wilt and they brown, and they waft to the earth; what once would withstand e'en the wickedest winds will fall from a pinprick, at the first slight puff. It's dead, and has passed, and a darker black pillar now stands in the place where stood the tree proud. And just as a proud man, just and proper, grown from infancy, greeting adulthood, begins to fall down from the green of his days; and once he stood tall and he went to the temple of that once-great kingdom which they like him killed; and he did things wonderful, holy and wondrous, goodly and prudent, godly and powerful, courtly and gentle, kindly and generous, deeds that brought minds to the deeds of the Moon-Son, and greater than these this man then did give to the man who inspired him, the Moon-Son, the strong; this holy great hero, hallowed and mighty, begins to grow old now, growing too ancient, his body rebels and his soul abandons the Graycloak, the Moon-Son, the great mighty man who once made this man into master of mirth; his body now failing, his boots will not bear him; his legs are too shrunken to lug him to shore; his eyes are now dim, his ears now deaf, his arms now weak, his efforts wasted, he down puts his head and he dies; so the Horseman's kingdom of old must come to an end. And men must then weep, mourning the wakeless death of that kingdom our king held so dear. But as the sun shines on rivers and draws up the rain to send to the earth what it drew to the sky; as last Yule's snow will yield to the spring but fall on the soil as snow in the following; as the old mighty tree, ancient, once towering, has yielded its seeds to spread through the years; and just as the man, just and noble, shall raise a son who, rising and starting anew all the works that never shall wither which his father did broach and abandoned in fear; so also that kingdom, ancient and courtly, mighty and strong, masterfully skilled, godly in deed but ungodly in death, shall offer a son and our own it shall be, our own in the making and ours in the end. The kind and good Horseman who built the first kingdom is with us, the builders who build up the wall and make the great tower, tall and mighty; to lead off the clouds a light there we'll lay, the light of the east which the light-bringing Horseman had brought to the west by that brave eastern wind. And so will be risen the world which was riven which long that great Horseman so hallowed and loved; its light is eternal and e'er shall keep lighting, e'en after the earth is so broken and ancient the Horseman returns; and holy the reign is which he will then have o'er the whole of the earth, o'er time and o'er glory, o'er towers and o'er gates, to the sealing of the last age of men. Soothly.