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And when you're threshing, crippled, with broken
bridge and rail, On a drogue of dead convictions to hold you head
to gale, Calm as the Flying Dutchman, from truck to taff
rail dressed, You'll see the old three-decker for the Islands of
You'll see her tiering canvas in sheeted silver
spread; You'll hear the long-drawn thunder 'neath her
leaping figure-head; While far, so far above you, her tall poop-lanterns
shine Unvexed by wind or weather like the candles
round a shrine.
Hull down-hull down and under-she dwindles
to a speck, With noise of pleasant music and dancing on her
deck. All's well-all's well aboard her-she's dropped
you far behind, With a scent of old-world roses through the fog
that ties you blind.
Her crew are babes or madmen? Her port is all
to make ?
You're manned by Truth and Science, and you
steam for steaming's sake? Well, tinker up your engines—you know your
business bestShe's taking tired people to the Islands of the
The American Spirit speaks:
If the Led Striker call it a strike,
Or the papers call it a war,
Through many roads, by me possessed,
He shambles forth in cosmic guise;
And he the Text himself applies.
The Celt is in his heart and hand,
The Gaul is in his brain and nerve;
He guards the Redskin's dry reserve.
His easy unswept hearth he lends
From Labrador to Guadeloupe;
He camps, at sufferance, on the stoop. Calm-eyed he scoffs at sword and crown,
Or panic-blinded stabs and slays: Blatant he bids the world bow down,
Or cringing begs a crumb of praise;
Or, sombre-drunk, at mine and mart,
He dubs his dreary brethren Kings.
Leaps, as a babe's, at little things.
But, through the shift of mood and mood,
Mine ancient humour saves him wholeThe cynic devil in his blood
That bids him mock his hurrying soul;
That bids him flout the Law he makes,
That bids him make the Law he flouts, Till, dazed by many doubts, he wakes
The drumming guns that-have no doubts;
That checks him foolish hot and fond,
That chuckles through his deepest ire, That gilds the slough of his despond
But dims the goal of his desire;
The acrid Asiatic mirth
The scandal of the elder earth.
How shall he clear himself, how reach
Our bar or weighed defence preferA brother hedged with alien speech
And lacking all interpreter?
Which knowledge vexes him a space;
But while reproof around him rings, He turns a keen untroubled face
Home, to the instant need of things.
Enslaved, illogical, elate,
He greets th' embarrassed Gods, nor fears To shake the iron hand of Fate
Or match with Destiny for beers.
Lo! imperturbable he rules,
Unkempt, disreputable, vast And, in the teeth of all the schools
Il shall save him at the last!