For other versions of this work, see War (Coates, "In the beginning was I born").
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In the beginning was I born,
With man from out the dust;
And presently, from earth uptorn,
Came Cruelty and Lust.
Alway, the vassals of my will,
They twain go with me still.

Where'er my flashing sword they see,
Where'er they scent my breath,
Quickly they follow after me,
Bringing despair and death;
Yet still the mighty wear with pride
My liveries, crimson-dyed!

Once, long ago, in ages gone,
When man seemed as the brute,
I looked with dread to wisdom's dawn,
And virtue's ripening fruit:
Now sages wreathe my brow with bays,
And poets chant my praise.

And once, in little Bethlehem—
Once only, not again—
Peace wore a royal diadem:
But I could trust to men,
And crucified upon a tree,
Peace is a memory!