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Fearless and unperplexed,

When I wage battle next,
What weapons to select, what armour to indue.

15
Youth ended, I shall try

My gain or loss thereby;
Leave the fire ashes, what survives is gold:

And I shall weigh the same,

Give life its praise or blame:
Young, all lay in dispute; I shall know, being old.

16
For note, when evening shuts,

A certain moment cuts
The deed off, calls the glory from the grey :

A whisper from the west

Shoots-Add this to the rest, Take it and try its worth: here dies another day.'

17
So, still within this life,

Though lifted o'er its strife,
Let me discern, compare, pronounce at last,

'This rage was right i' the main,

That acquiescence vain : The Future I may face now I have proved the Past.'

18
For more is not reserved

To man, with soul just nerved
To act to-morrow what he learns to-day:

Here, work enough to watch

The Master work, and catch Hints of the proper craft, tricks of the tool's true play.

19 As it was better, youth

Should strive, through acts unçouth, Toward making, than repose on aught found made;

So, better, age, exempt

From strife, should know, than tempt Further. Thou waitedst age; wait death nor be

afraid !

20

Enough now,

if the Right And Good and Infinite Be named here, as thou callest thy hand thine own,

With knowledge absolute,

Subject to no dispute From fools that crowded youth, nor let thee feel

alone.

21

Be there, for once and all,

Severed great minds from small, Announced to each his station in the Past!

Was I, the world arraigned,

Were they, my soul disdained, Right? Let age speak the truth and give us peace

at last!

22

Now, who shall arbitrate?

Ten men love what I hate,
Shun what I follow, slight what I receive;

Ten, who in ears and eyes

Match me: we all surmise, They, this thing, and I, that: whom shall my soul believe?

23 Not on the vulgar mass

Called 'work,' must sentence pass, Things done, that took the eye and had the price;

O’er which, from level stand,

The low world laid its hand, Found straightway to its mind, could value in a

trice:

24
But all, the world's coarse thumb

And finger failed to plumb,
So passed in making up the main account;

All instincts immature,

All purposes unsure, That weighed not as his work, yet swelled the man's amount:

25 Thoughts hardly to be packed

Into a narrow act, Fancies that broke through language and escaped;

All I could never be,

All, men ignored in me. This, I was worth to God, whose wheel the pitcher shaped.

26
Aye, note that Potter's wheel,

That metaphor! and feel
Why time spins fast, why passive lies our clay, -

Thou, to whom fools propound,

When the wine makes its round, "Since life fleets, all is change; the Past gone, seize to-day!'

27 Fool! All that is, at all,

Lasts ever, past recall; Earth changes, but thy soul and God stand sure:

What entered into thee,

That was, is, and shall be: Time's wheel runs back or stops; Potter and clay endure.

28
He fixed thee mid this dance

Of plastic circumstance,
This Present, thou, forsooth, wouldst fain arrest :

Machinery just meant

To give thy soul its bent, Try thee and turn thee forth, sufficiently impressed.

29
What though the earlier grooves

Which ran the laughing loves
Around thy base, no longer pause and press ?

What though, about thy rim,

Skull-things in order grim
Grow out, in graver mood, obey the sterner stress?

30
Look not thou down but up!

To uses of a cup,
The festal board, lamp's flash and trumpet's peal,

The new wine's foaming flow,

The Master's lips aglow! Thou, heaven's consummate cup, what needst thou with earth's wheel?

31
But I need, now as then,

Thee, God, who mouldest men;
And since, not even while the whirl was worst,

Did I,—to the wheel of life

With shapes and colours rife, Bound dizzily,-mistake my end, to slake Thy thirst:

32
So, take and use Thy work!

Amend what flaws may lurk,
What strain o' the stuff, what warpings past the

aim!
My times be in Thy hand!

Perfect the cup as planned ! Let age approve of youth, and death complete the same!

R. Browning

CCCLXXVI

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 gave him gifts of pearl and gold, And spoils

of the forest free. And they sang-Hurra for Tubal Cain,

Who hath given us strength anew! Hurra for the smith, hurra for the fire,

And hurra for the metal true!'

But a sudden change came o'er his heart,

Ere the setting of the sun,
And Tubal Cain was filled with pain

For the evil he had done;
He saw that men, with rage and hate,

Made war upon their kind,
That the land was red with the blood they shed

In their lust for carnage, blind.
And he said — Alas! that ever I made,

Or that skill of mine should plan,
The spear and the sword for men whose joy

Is to slay their fellow-man.'

And for many a day old Tubal Cain

Sat brooding o'er his woe;

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