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Which the world owes to work no poet sage

Has made the burden of his song as yet, And the best epic of our life remains Lodged in the grasp of unpoetic pains.

To feed and clothe our kind, to spread a roof

Between them and the sky, and bid the cold Of winter keep without, have won small proof

Of honour and esteem from those of old ;
Adventure, war, and love have formed the woof

And warp of all the glorious stories told
By poet and prosaist, when inspired
To sing or tell the deeds their souls admired.

My song 's about a worker; one who never

Shrank from the face of toil, or ate the bread Of idleness, whose resolute endeavour

Has won the heart of Nature, who has sped His efforts with her warmth of kindliest favour,

And shown the hidden key that opes, 'tis said, The wondrous treasury of celestial gold, Prize of laborious love, that's neither bought nor sold.

Nature is rough but kindly, like the cocoa-nut;

Her hard and hemp-clad husk gives little token Of the sweet milk within ; her treasure shut

Out of the reach of idleness; the rock is broken Before

you

find the gold; and you must put With greater or less willingness her yoke on, Ere you shall know the joy of life, and prove The glory of its health and power and love.

'Twas a wild night in winter, such as seamen

Shorten their sail to live through ; when the fire Burns with a doubled comfort, and when women

Bent o'er their work look sweetest, and the choir

Of childhood's mirth is loudest; such as gleemen

Used anciently to deem could song inspire
Of valorous doughty deed, when mighty bowls
Were filled and emptied to the Northmen’s skoals.

When the first blush of early summer morn

Among the stars thrills upwards like a breath Out of the gates of heaven ; when there's born

From the spent rage of storm the calm of death; When the fair moon repairs her silver horn,

And the soft clouds around her weave their wreath, I love to be alone, and feel the sense Which all these shed, a sacred influence.

But beyond all, this loneliness delights

When the drear earth in winter storms is rocking, When the chill rain comes sweeping through the nights,

And the wild woods their branches interlocking,
Wrestle and groan as giants do in fights ;

There comes a stillness o'er me as if mocking
The demon-driven tempest and its rout,
Turning the cloak of darkness inside out.

If there's a pleasure sweeter than another,

'Tis when bad weather shuts up human-kind, With all its gossip, scandal, empty bother,

And leaves one free to let the roving mind Follow its bent in some fand dream or other,

Or trim the lamp, and draw the window-blind, And wile the hours with some well-written story Of conquest, travel, virtue, love, or glory.

For 'tis exceeding comfortable and cosy,

To sit at night in gown and slippers warm, And feel a sense, delicious, dreamy, dozy,

Enwrap the weary spirit like a charm;

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Of childhood's mirth is loudest; such as gleemen

Used anciently to deem could song inspire
Of valorous doughty deed, when mighty bowls
Were filled and emptied to the Northmen's skoals.

When the first blush of early summer morn

Among the stars thrills upwards like a breath Out of the gates of heaven; when there's born

From the spent rage of storm the calm of death ; When the fair moon repairs her silver horn,

And the soft clouds around her weave their wreath, I love to be alone, and feel the sense Which all these shed, a sacred influence.

But beyond all, this loneliness delights

When the drear earth in winter storms is rocking, When the chill rain comes sweeping through the nights,

And the wild woods their branches interlocking,
Wrestle and groan as giants do in fights;

There comes a stillness o'er me as if mocking
The demon-driven tempest and its rout,
Turning the cloak of darkness inside out.

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The sound of raindrops makes me feel quite drowsy,'

As I sit sheltered from the winter's harm, Lulled in an indescribable and strange delight, By the wild music of a stormy night.

On such a night a student barred his door,

And piled fresh logs upon the blazing fire; Then on a rough-hewn stool sat down before

His cheerful hearth, the jolly flames aspire, And up the black, wide-throated chimney roar,

Each wandering gust but makes them leap the higher, While round the room their ruddy glow is thrown, And warmth and comfort in it hold their own.

A working student, this, of that strong guild

Of Nature's university who earn
Their bread by labour, and whose minds are filled

During their hours of leisure, when they learn
The mighty truths which do the ages build,

And drink in virtue from the golden urn
Of the great Past, when nations in their prime
Left splendid landmarks in the waste of Time.

Strong-limbed, broad-chested, tall, and with a fist

And forearm like a Titan's; just in-kneed a little, As men are apt to be who fill the list

Of Nature's foremost sons, and win their victual Out of her clenched hand; in grinding grist

The mill-stone wears, and labouring men are bit all With the keen tooth of toil, and bear the trace Of Nature's rigour in bust, limbs, or face.

A thoughtful man this worker seemed, and plain ;

Too little blessed with beauty, or with grace Of feature or of form, yet with a vein

Of mirth and humour in his homely face,

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