Poems (Chesterton, 1915)/On Righteous Indignation
ON RIGHTEOUS INDIGNATION
WHEN Adam went from Paradise
He saw the Sword and ran;
The dreadful shape, the new device,
The pointed end of Paradise,
And saw what Peril is and Price.
And knew he was a man.
When Adam went from Paradise,
He turned him back and cried
For a little flower from Paradise;
There came no flower from Paradise;
The woods were dark in Paradise,
And not a bird replied.
For only comfort or contempt,
For jest or great reward,
Over the walls of Paradise,
The flameless gates of Paradise,
The dumb shut doors of Paradise,
God flung the flaming sword.
It burns the hand that holds it
More than the skull it scores;
It doubles like a snake and stings,
Yet he in whose hand it swings
He is the most masterful of things,
A scorner of the stars.