Category: Ballads and Other Poems
Honor To Labor
|HONOR TO LABOR!--it giveth health;
Honor to labor!--it bringeth wealth;
Honor to labor!--our glorious land
Displayeth its triumphs on every hand.
It has smoothed the plains, laid the forests low,
And brightened the vales with the harvest's glow,--
Reared cities vast with their marts of trade,
Where erst undisturbed lay the woodland shade,--
Brought up from the depths of the teeming mine,
Its treasured stores in the light to shine,--
Sent Commerce forth on his tireless wings
In search of all precious and goodly things--
Forth to the ice-bound Northern seas,
And to bright isles fanned by the Southern breeze,
Where the Orange deepens its sunset dyes,
And the Cocoa ripens 'neath glowing skies,--
To the sunny islands of Austral climes,--
To lands undreamt of in elder times,--
Till every region, and clime, and zone,
Has yielded its treasures to bless our own.
Honor to Labor!--it diveth deep
To dim sea-caves where bright treasures sleep,
And dareth with curious quest explore
The ancient wonders of Ocean's floor.
It fearless roams over Deserts vast,
Where destruction rides on the Simoom's blast,
And trackless sands have for ages frowned
O'er cities in ancient song renowned.
It climbs where the dazzling glaciers lie,
Changeless and cold, 'neath a glowing sky,
And leaves the trace of its triumphs proud
Above the regions of storm and cloud.
The Ocean, once an untravelled waste,
By feet adventurous never passed,
Spread forth to the solemn skies alone
Its restless waters to man unknown.
Imagination, with eager quest,
Went forth o'er its bosom with vague unrest,
To loneliest regions devoid of light,
Where dark Cimmerii dwelt in night,--
Or peopled its realms, undiscovered, lone,
With phantoms of horror and shapes unknown.
But Labor came, and with kindling glance
Boldly he traversed the far expanse,
Scatt'ring the shadows of ancient night,
And lifting a glad New World to light.
Now, a realm of life is the glorious Sea--
A peopled realm of the bold and free--
Where the proud ship glides like a thing of life,
And laughs at the storms and the billows' strife,--
Vast highway of nations, above whose deeps
Commerce with tireless navies sweeps,
And Life goes forth in its glad unrest,
Buoyantly treading the waves' white crest.
Honor to Labor!--his strong right hand
Old, frightful chasms has boldly spanned,
And hung his teeming thoroughfares high
'Twixt rushing torrent and bending sky.
He has harnessed Steam to the flying car,
And sent it from ocean to ocean afar,--
Pierced strong-ribbed mountains that barred his way,
And oped through their caverns a broad highway,--
Taught the lightning to carry his messages forth
From West to East, and from South to North,
And flash his thoughts through the depths profound
Of Ocean, the Earth's circumference round,--
Made Light his servant to do his will--
With faultless pencil and subtlest skill
Limning the features most dear in life,
Of friend, or husband, or child, or wife,
And compressing into a single hour
The work of months of artistic power.
Honor to Labor!--with steady eye
He has fearlessly traversed the midnight sky,
And followed the mazy, perplexing dance
Of planets and moons thro' the far expanse,--
Their orbits, periods, weight and size,
Studied with heedful and cautious eyes,
And forced the haughty, imperial sun
To answer his inquiries one by one.
He has tracked the comet's erratic flight
Through the silent star-fields of primal night,--
Walked through the depths of old nebulae
With flashing glance and with footstep free,
And seen spin round him in wildering flight
Systems and suns, while the infinite
Of God's great universe stretched away
Farther far than e'en thought might stray
"Honor to Labor!"--the mariner sings,
As forth to the breezes his sails he flings;--
"It has made us lords of the boundless deep--
Fearlessly over the waves we sweep!"
"Honor to Labor!"--the traveller cries,
As forth in the rushing tram he flies;--
"We may rival the speed of the bird's swift wing
As he joyously soars thro' the skies of Spring,
And the fetterless wind on its pinions free,
Is scarcely more fleet in its course than we!"
"Honor to Labor!"--the student cries,
As he gazes around him with joyful eyes,--
"Honor to Labor!--the teeming press
Pours forth its treasures the world to bless!
From the pictured pages where childhood's eye
Findeth a world of bright imagery,
To the massive tome 'mid whose treasures vast,
Lie the time-dimmed records of ages past,
We may wander, and revel, yet ever find
Supplies exhaustless for heart and mind
We may turn to the Past--to the ages fled--
And converse hold with the gifted dead,--
Old climes of historic fame explore,
And gather the gems of their buried lore,--
With Prophet-bards seek inspiring themes,
Or muse alone by old fabled streams,--
With the Poet take our enraptured flight,
And woo the Muse on Parnassus' height,--
Take fair Philosophy by the hand,
And roam with her through her native land,--
May win from the God-inspired of Earth
Heavenly treasures of priceless worth,--
Till the mental stores of all ages flown,
And all gifted minds, we have made our own.".
Honor to Labor of body or mind,
That hath for its object the good of mankind!
The Farmer, who cheerily ploughs the soil,
And gathers the fruit of his hopeful toil,--
The strong Mechanic, whose manly brow
Weareth of labor the healthful glow,--
The bold Inventor, beneath whose hands
The useful engine completed stands,--
The Artist, who, with unrivalled skill,
Creations of loveliness forms at will,--
The Teacher, who sows in the minds of youth
Seeds of precious undying truth,--
The pale-faced Student, who, worn with toil,
Consumes o'er his studies the midnight oil,--
The man of Science, with earnest mind,
Who toils to enlighten and bless mankind--
To themselves, their race, and their country true.
Honor, all honor, to such is due!
- Mrs. J. C. Yule