The following, by Vachel Lindsay, is a poem tribute to “General Booth,” the founder of the Salvation Army. It’s a wonderful picture of a heaven filled with the blind, lame, and despised.

(BASS DRUM BEATEN LOUDLY)

Booth led boldly with his big bass drum-
(Are you washed in the Blood of the Lamb?)
The Saints smiled gravely, and they said, ‘He’s come.’
(Are you washed in the Blood of the Lamb?)
Walking lepers followed, rank on rank,
Lurching bravos from the ditches dank,
Drabs from the alleyways and drug fiends pale-
Minds still passion-ridden, soul-powers frail;
Vermin-eaten saints with mouldy breath,
Unwashed legions with the ways of Death-
(Are you washed in the Blood of the Lamb?)

I

(BANJOES)

Every slum had sent its half-a-score
The round world over. (Booth had groaned for more.)
Every banner that the wide world flies
Bloomed with glory and transcendent dyes.
Big-voiced lassies made their banjoes bang;
Tranced, fanatical, they shrieked and sang-
‘Are you washed in the Blood of the Lamb?’
Hallelujah! It was queer to see
Bull-necked convicts with that land made free.
Loons with trumpets blowed a blare, blare, blare,
On, on, upward through the golden air!
(Are you washed in the Blood of the Lamb?)

II

(BASS DRUMS SLOWER AND SOFTER)

Booth died blind, and still by faith he trod,
Eyes still dazzled by the ways of God.
Booth led boldly, and he looked the chief,
Eagle countenance in sharp relief,
Beard aflying, air of high command,
Unabated in that holy land.

(SWEET FLUTE MUSIC)

Jesus came from out the court-house door,
Stretched His hands above the passing poor.
Booth saw not, but led his queer ones there,
Round and round the mighty courthouse square.
Then in an instant, all that blear review
Marched on spotless, clad in raiment new,
The lame were straightened, withered limbs uncurled,
And blind eyes opened on a new, sweet world.

(BASS DRUMS LOUDER)

Drabs and vixens in a feast made whole!
Gone was the weasel-head, the snout, the jowl!
Sages and sibyls now, and athletes clean,
Rulers of empire, and of forests green!

(GRAND CHORUS OF ALL INSTRUMENTS. TAMBOURINES TO THE FOREGROUND)

The hosts were sandalled, and their wings were fire!
(Are you washed in the Blood of the Lamb?)
But their noise played havoc with the angel-choir.
(Are you washed in the Blood of the Lamb?)
Oh, shout Salvation! It was good to see
Kings and Princes by the Lamb set free.
The banjoes rattled and the tambourines
Jing-jing-jingled in the hands of Queens.

(REVERENTLY SUNG, NO INSTRUMENTS)

And when Booth halted by the curb of prayer,
He saw his Master through the flag-filled air.
Christ came gently with a robe and crown
For Booth the Soldier, while the throng knelt down.
He saw King Jesus. They were face to face,
And he knelt a-weeping in that holy place.

Are you washed in the Blood of the Lamb?