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The ship-builders.

the sky is ruddy in the east,
     The earth is gray below,
And, spectral in the river-mist,
     The ship's white timbers show.
Then let the sounds of measured stroke
     And grating saw begin;
The broad-axe to the gnarled oak,
     The mallet to the pin!

Hark! roars the bellows, blast on blast,
     The sooty smithy jars,
And fire-sparks, rising far and fast,
     Are fading with the stars.
All day for us the smith shall stand
     Beside that flashing forge;
All day for us his heavy hand
     The groaning anvil scourge.

From far-off hills, the panting team
     For us is toiling near;
For us the raftsmen down the stream
     Their island barges steer.
Rings out for us the axe-man's stroke
     In forests old and still;
For us the century-circled oak
     Falls crashing down his hill.

Up! up! in nobler toil than ours
     No craftsmen bear a part:
We make of Nature's giant powers
     The slaves of human Art.

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