Outside, the green-fingered fir-tree
Taps against the window-pane;
And the moon, that pale eaves-dropper,
Slyly peeps in on us twain;
On us wide awake, still chatting:
Through the half-closed bedroom door
(Mother, father, both are sleeping)
Comes a distant muffled snore.
"No, you never will persuade me
That your daily prayers you say;
No, your lips are ever quivering,
Not like lips of men who pray;
"That satiric wicked quiver
Strikes me with a sudden chill,
Though one eye-glance, true and tender,
All my doubts and fears can still.
"Yours, I'm sure, is not the right creed
All good men believe, almost;
Tell me true, do you believe in
Father, Son, and Holy Ghost?"
"Ah, my child, when yet a small boy
At my mother's knee I stood,
I believed in God the Father
High in Heaven, great and good:
"Who this glorious earth created,
And us men, a glorious race;
Earth and sun and moon and planets.
Pre-ordained for each his place.
"Then, my child, as I grew older,
Grew in years and wisdom won,
Reason taught me wider knowledge;
I believe too in the Son.
"In the Son who, love revealing,
Lived for us and loved and died,
By the world, as the world's way is,
In requital crucified.
"Now I've read much, much have travelled,
Riper insight now can boast,
And my heart swells, with my whole heart
I believe in Holy Ghost.
"Marvels great he wrought of old time,
Greater will he work again;
He bath burst th' oppressor's stronghold,
He bath broke the prisoner's chain.
"Old-world wounds the Spirit healeth
And renews the ancient right;
All mankind by birth are equal,
All are noble in his sight.
"He dispels the mists and cobwebs,
Grinning phantoms of the brain,
Which by day and night molest us,
Mar our joy and mock our pain.
"Thousand knights well-harnessed serve him
Day and night fulfil his best;
He hath armed their hands for battle,
And with courage filled their breast.
"Flash their trusty swords like lightning,
Stream afar their banners bold!
Ah, my child, 'twould please you rarely
Such brave champions to behold.
"Well then look on me - and kiss me -
Look straight at one, for I boast
I too, child, am of the knighthood,
Knighthood of the Holy Ghost!"