Fanatic named, and fool, yet well content

Fanatic named, and fool, yet well content
He stood upon the world’s broad threshold; wide
The din of battle and of slaughter rose;
He saw God stand upon the weaker side,
That sank in seeming loss before its foes:
Many there were who made great haste and sold
Unto the cunning enemy their swords,
He scorned their gifts of fame, and power, and gold,
And, underneath their soft and flowery words,
Heard the cold serpent hiss; therefore he went
And humbly joined him to the weaker part,
Fanatic named, and fool, yet well content
So he could be the nearer to God’s heart,
And feel its solemn pulses sending blood
Through all the widespread veins of endless good.
-James Russell Lowell

(In memory of Wendell Phillips)

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