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17 The grim Geneva ministers
With anxious scowl drew near,
Around the dying deer.
But alone he bent the knee ;
200 Then radiant and serene he rose,
And cast his cloak away : For he had ta’en his latest look
Of earth and sun and day.
18 A beam of light fell o'er him,
Like a glory round the shriven, And he climbed the lofty ladder
As it were the path to heaven. Then came a flash from out the cloud,
And a stunning thunder-roll; And no man dared
to look aloft, For fear was on every soul. There was another heavy sound,
A hush and then a groan ;
W. E. AYTOUN.
351 TUBAL CAIN
Old Tubal Cain was a man of might
In the days when Earth was young ; By the fierce red light of his furnace bright
The strokes of his hammer rung ; And he lifted high his brawny hand
On the iron glowing clear, Till the sparks rushed out in scarlet showers,
As he fashioned the sword and spear.
And he sang— Hurra for my handiwork !
Hurra for the spear and sword ! Hurra for the hand that shall wield them well,
For he shall be king and lord !'
To Tubal Cain came many a one,
As he wrought by his roaring fire, And each one prayed for a strong steel blade
As the crown of his desire : And he made them weapons sharp and strong,
Till they shouted loud for glee,
And spoils of the forest free.
Who hath given us strength anew!
And hurra for the metal true!'
But a sudden change came o'er his heart,
Ere the setting of the sun,
For the evil he had done ;
Made war upon their kind,
In their lust for carnage, blind.
Or that skill of mine should plan,
Is to slay their fellow-man.
And for many a day old Tubal Cain
Sat brooding o'er his woe ;
And his furnace smouldered low.
And a bright courageous eye,
While the quick flames mounted high.
And he sang — Hurra for my handicraft !
And the red sparks lit the air ; 'Not alone for the blade was the bright steel
And he fashioned the first ploughshare. And men, taught wisdom from the past,
In friendship joined their hands, Hung the sword in the hall, the spear on the wall,
And ploughed the willing lands;
Our stanch good friend is he;
To him our praise shall be.
Or a tyrant would be lord,
352 QUA CURSUM VENTUS As ships, becalmed at eve, that lay
With canvas drooping, side by side, Two towers of sail at dawn of day
Are scarce long leagues apart descried When fell the night, upsprung the breeze,
And all the darkling hours they plied, Nor dreamt but each the self-same seas
By each was cleaving, side by side : E'en so—but why the tale reveal
Of those, whom year by year unchanged, Brief absence joined anew to feel,
Astounded, soul from soul estranged ? At dead of night their sails were filled,
And onward each rejoicing steeredAh, neither blame, for neither willed,
Or wist, what first with dawn appeared !
To veer, how vain! On, onward strain,
Brave barks ! In light, in darkness too, Through winds and tides one compass guides
To that, and your own selves, be true.
But o blithe breeze ! and O great seas,
Though ne'er, that earliest parting past, On your wide plain they join again,
Together lead them home at last.
One port, methought, alike they sought,
One purpose hold where'er they fare,
A. H. CLOUGH.
Say not, the struggle naught availeth,
The labour and the wounds are vain, The enemy faints not, nor faileth,
And as things have been they remain.
If hopes were dupes, fears may be liars ;
It may be, in yon smoke concealed, Your comrades chase e'en now the fliers,
And, but for you, possess the field.
For while the tired waves, vainly breaking,
Seem here no painful inch to gain,
Comes silent, flooding in, the main.
And not by eastern windows only,
When daylight comes, comes in the light, In front, the sun climbs slow, how slowly, But westward, look, the land is bright.
A. H. CLOUGII.
354 Where lies the land to which the ship would go ? Far, far ahead, is all her seamen know. And where the land she travels from ? Away, Far, far behind, is all that they can say.
On sunny noons upon the deck's smooth face,
Where lies the land to which the ship would go ?
A, H. CLOUGI.
'O MAY I JOIN THE CHOIR INVISIBLE'
Longum illud tempus, quum non ero, magis me movet, quanı hoc exiguum.—CICERO, ad All. xii. 18.
O may I join the choir invisible