We might well be content to say that mythology had come with
the shepherds and philosophy with the philosophers; and that it
only remained for them to combine in the recognization of
religion. But there was a third element that must not be
ignored … — The Everlasting Man, G.K. Chesterton
When Zeus and Thor ran loose in lore,
Diffusing glory through false forms,
Good pagan folk ere Day awoke
Long prayed to broken stone forlorn—
Till, cloaked in clay, He spoke to say
Their yokes away would soon be torn
By poor cold Jews who bore good news,
When mortals fused with Spirit-born.
In Aristotle’s wary thought,
A barren god must be ideal:
Potential reigns, unbent, unstained
By Lenten pains that haunt the Real.
But wains of men with ancient ken
Through plain and fen did come to kneel;
In grotto bare they sought to share
New plots declared, new truths revealed.
And beasts of Hell made feast as well.
In peaceful dells, our strife’s first cause
Arose in might by frozen night
To close its spiteful snapping jaws
On fightless foes in tidy rows—
The flight of Joseph slipped its claws.
Unquelled, unleashed, Yule’s bells and priests
Still tell the ceaseless War of Gods.