Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, SCIENCE, by LEVI BISHOP



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SCIENCE, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Harp of a thousand strings, awake
Last Line: And live beyond the grave!
Subject(s): Death; Nature; Railroads; Science; Dead, The; Railways; Trains; Scientists


"Harp of a thousand strings," awake,
And fling thy melodies afar!
For theme, the world of science take,
From center earth to blazing star.

"Proud Science!" wonders hast thou wrought;
Inventions to perfection brought;
The curious brought to view;
And powers and combinations latent,
Hast well displayed and crowned by patent,
As if for something new.

See how unerring laws, in nature's plan,
Are clear unfolded by the Artisan!
Proud Mathematics, with a stretch sublime,
Would touch the utmost verge of space and time.
Says Archimedes, "give whereon to stand,
I raise the seas, the mountains and the land."
Invoked by Chemist in his lab'ratory,
See plastic Nature tell her simple story!
The fruits of science are on every hand;
They well improve and beautify the land;
And yet with all the wealth they now have told,
Far greater still the future shall unfold.

Mount Cenis well may beg for grace,
The gnawing worm is at his base;
The engine and the whirling car
Shall soon defy the Alpine bar.

Pacific Railway! That stupendous plan!
With proud expectant banners broad unfurled!
A work that shall the Rocky Mountains span,
And change the trade and commerce of the world.

The bridge, across that mighty river,
That proudly bears Victoria's name,
With base and strength to stand forever,
May well bespeak a world-wide fame.

Pass up that rapid tide,
Ontario -- pass it o'er,
And take your stand beside
Niagara's deafening roar.
Look through those misty showers;
That eddying surge behold;
And see those lofty towers,
Upon those banks so bold.
The master-work of man!
Look at it, never fear;
See in that graceful span,
Triumphant Engineer!
Behold the slender strands,
The net work and the bow!
Can they maintain their bands,
Above that flood below?
And see that train -- that goes --
Majestic -- o'er the deep!
One thread -- it snaps -- suppose --
Ye gods! The horrid leap!

The Telegraph -- the chief of wonders.
The lightning's flash without its thunders.
Distance, what is it? Next to naught;
And weeks are into seconds brought.
At once a fact or thought has birth;
This nervous system of the Earth,
Will dart it forth, and far and wide;
And e'en across the ocean tide.
For be it known, we shall be able,
Ere long to lay Atlantic Cable:
We have! The victory is won!
In Sixty-Six the work is done.

And next in wonder and in worth,
The Power of Steam stands boldly forth;
With bit and rein, like foaming steed,
The loom, the forge, the ship to speed.
With heavy car and thund'ring train,
It dashes wildly o'er the plain;
And ledge and forest, gorge and dell,
All stand affright to hear it yell.

Now harnessed for the rapid flight,
And belching fire and smoke,
It comes -- 'tis here -- 'tis out of sight,
Like flash of sabre stroke.
A train ahead! Switch out of place!
Or draw in bridge -- so rash!
It plunges on in frightful race --
A shriek! A murd'rous crash!
And now the Coroner is seen,
With his devoted twelve,
To sit him down with gravest mien,
Into the facts to delve.
They seem to know their office well,
'Tis simply not to see;
Or if they see, 'tis not to tell,
And let the matter be.
"The dead are mute, their friends are far;
Then why should we berate,
And place within the felon's bar,
The influential great?
The proofs are clear -- before our face,
Yet verdict all the same; --
This was an accidental case;
We find -- NO ONE TO BLAME."

Proud Science, too, with line and pendant lead,
Surveys the deepest, darkest ocean bed;
Explores the valleys, tells where mountains rise,
That seem, beneath the flood, to pierce the skies
Detects the treacherous sands, the island curves;
The varying currents carefully observes:
Familiar chats with myriad finny train --
With pearls, and wrecks o'erwhelmed beneath the main.

Science, again, amid the furious strife,
Of wind and wave, that threatens every life,
Erects, above the all-devouring flood,
The bow of hope -- the promised boon of God.

And Science, too, with slim and lengthened probe,
Has pierced the solid strata of the globe; --
Those strata that unnumbered years have told,
For hidden streams of wealth and shining gold.
The Earth shall ever yield the rich increase;
The surface will respond the "Golden Fleece"
To honest toil; the mine will also bring,
The Israelitish calf, the glittering King,
To avaricious throng, with pomp and glare,
For high, and low, and base, who worship there.

And Science swings his tube on high,
And sweeps his view across the sky,
And clear unfolds to human eye,
Infinity sublime;
And whirling planets, far and vast,
On axis and in orbits cast,
Whose music shall forever last --
A glorious -- heavenly chime.
Say -- Astronomic Devotee!
Can you not stretch enough to see,
The Great -- Eternal -- One in Three,
Upon His starry throne?
Ah, no! your vision multiply
Into itself, and still you try
In vain; and yet His reign is nigh;
'Tis everywhere alone.

Alas, Great God! what puny worms we are!
The flitting mote; the very dust; yet dare
We oft, Thy mighty 'venging arm laid bare,
When nothing else can save:
As we among the whirling planets soar,
And comets blazing far, let us adore
Thy wond'rous power and goodness evermore;
And live beyond the grave!





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