Moving the dreamer to do and dare.
Oh, what is so good as the urge of it,
And what is so glad as the surge of it,

And what is so strong as the summons deep, 5 Rousing the torpid soul from sleep?

Thank God for the pace of it,
For the terrible, keen, swift race of it;

Fiery steeds in full control,
10 Nostrils a-quiver to greet the goal.

Speeding the energies faster, faster,
Work, the Power that drives behind,
Guiding the purposes, taming the mind,

Holding the runaway wishes back,
15 Reining the will to one steady track,

Triumphing over disaster.
Oh, what is so good as the pain of it,
And what is so great as the gain of it?

And what is so kind as the cruel goad, 20 Forcing us on through the rugged road?

Thank God for the swing of it,
For the clamoring, hammering ring of it,

Passion of labor daily hurled
25 On the mighty anvils of the world.

Oh, what is so fierce as the flame of it?
And what is so huge as the aim of it?
Thundering on through dearth and doubt,

Calling the plan of the Maker out. 30 Work, the Titan; Work, the friend,

Shaping the earth to a glorious end, Draining the swamps and blasting the hills, Doing whatever the Spirit wills

Rending a continent apart,
To answer the dream of the Master heart.
Thank God for a world where none may shirk-
Thank God for the splendor of work!


NOTES AND QUESTIONS Biography. Angela Morgan was born in New England, spent most of her childhood in the Middle West, and in her youth entered upon

career of journalism. Her warm sympathy for the industrial worker and her keen interest in social reforms make her a poet of the people. Some of her best known poems are “Wood Hath a Soul” and “Open the Gates” in Forward March! and “Today,” and “Kinship” in The Hour Has Struck, from which “Work: A Song of Triumph" is taken.

Discussion. 1. To what is work compared in the first stanza? 2. What is meant by the "stern command” which challenges “brain and heart and hand”? 3. What does work do to stupor and despair? What does work do for the dreamer? 4. Read the third stanza so that you feel the swift pace of the horses to which your purpose, your mind, and your will are compared. 5. Who is the driver? 6. What is meant by the expression "runaway wishes”? 7. How does work hold them back? 8. What is meant by “reining the will”? 9. What may the goad be which forces us on? 10. To what is work compared in the first part of the fourth stanza? 11. Who were the Titans? 12. Why are swamps drained ? 13. When is it necessary to blast hills? 14. The making of what great canals may be described as "rending a continent apart"? 15. What other great achievements can you mention as the result of man's work? 16. Why should everyone do his part of the world's work? 17. In the Introduction on page 336 what is said to be the secret of our national prosperity? What is said about the need for coöperation? Point out lines in this poem that express somewhat the same ideas. 18. Find in the Glossary the meaning of: torpid; taming; goad.

Library Reading. “The Telephone Directory” and “The Power Plant,” Braley (in Songs of a Workaday World); Famous Leaders of Industry, Wildman; Heroes of Progress, Morris; Modern Americans, Sanford and Owen; The Silver Horde, Beach; Pictures of the Wonder of Work, Pennell; the magazine The World's Work; Biography of Angela Morgan, The Review of Reviews for April, 1919.

[ocr errors]



It was a very black and a very dirty street down which I made my way that November morning at half-past five. There was no paving, there was no sidewalk, there were no lights.

Rain had been falling for several days, and I waded through 5 seas of mud and sloshed through lakes of water. There were men in front of me and men behind me, all plodding along through the muck and mire, just as I was plodding along, their tin lunch-pails rattling as mine was rattling. Some of us were

going to work, some of us were going to look for work—the 10 steel-mills lay somewhere in the darkness ahead of us.

We who were not so fortunate as to possess a magical piece of brass, the showing of which to a uniformed guard at the steel-mills' gate would cause the door to swing open, waited

outside in the street, where we milled about in the mud, not 15 unlike a herd of uneasy cattle. It was cold out there. A north

wind, blowing straight in from the lake, whipped our faces and hands and penetrated our none-too-heavy clothing.

"I wisht I had a job in there!" said a shivering man at my side, who had been doing some inspecting through a knothole 20 in the high fence. “You got a job there?” he asked, glancing

at my pail. I told him I had been promised work and had been ordered to report.

"You're lucky to get a job, and you want to freeze on to it. Jobs ain't to be any too plentiful this winter, and if this war 25 stops-good-night! I've been comin' here every mornin' for two

weeks, but I can't get took. I reckon I'm kind o' small for mos of the work in there.” He began to kick his muddy shoes against the fence and to blow upon his hands. "Winter's comin'," he sighed.

*See Silent and Oral Reading, page 11.


A whistle blew, a gate swung open, and a mob of men poured out into the street—the night shift going off duty. Their faces looked haggard and deathly pale in the sickly glare of the pale blue arcs above us.

"Night-work's no good," said the small man at my side. "But you got to do it if you're goin' to work in the mills."

A man with a Turkish towel thrown loosely about his neck came out of the gate and looked critically at the job hunters.

He came up to me. “What's yer name?” he demanded. I told 10 him. “Come on!” he grunted.

We stopped before the uniformed guard, who wrote my name on a card, punched the card, and gave it to me. "Come on!" again grunted the man with the towel. I followed my guide into

the yard, over railroad tracks, past great piles of scrap-iron and 15 pig metal, through clouds of steam and smoke, and into a long,

black building where engines whistled, bells clanged, and electric cranes rumbled and rattled overhead. We skirted a mighty pit filled with molten slag, and the hot air and stifling fumes blow

ing from it struck me in the face and staggered me. We crept 20 between giant ladles, in whose depths I could hear the banging

of hammers and the shouting of men. We passed beneath a huge trough through which a white, seething river of steel was rushing. I shrank back in terror as the sound of the roaring

flood fell upon my ears, but the man with the towel, who was 25 walking briskly in front of me, looked over his shoulder and grunted, “Come on!”

Through a long, hot tunnel and past black, curving flues, down which I saw red arms of flame reaching, we made our way.

We came to an iron stairway, climbed it, and stepped out upon 30 a steel floor into the open hearth. "Come on!" growled my

guide, and we walked down the steel floor, scattered over which I saw groups of men at work in front of big, house-like furnaces out of whose cavernous mouths white tongues of flame were

leaping. The men worked naked to the waist, or stripped to 35 overalls and undershirt, and, watching them, I began to wonder if I had chosen wisely in seeking and accepting employment in this inferno.

"Put yer pail there. Hang yer coat there. Set down there. I'll tell the boss ye're here.” And the man with the towel went away.

I was sitting opposite one of the furnaces, a square, squat structure of yellow brick built to hold seventy-five tons of steel. There were three doors on the front wall, each door having a

round opening in the center, the "peep-hole.” Out through 10 these peep-holes poured shafts of light so white and dazzling

they pained the eye they struck. They were as the glaring orbs of some gigantic uncouth monster, and as I looked down the long line of furnaces and saw the three fiery eyes burning in

each, the effect through the dark, smoke-laden atmosphere was 15 grotesquely weird.

I watched a man who worked at one of the doors of the furnace nearest me. He had thrust a bar of iron through the peep-hole and was jabbing and prying at some object inside.

Every ounce of his strength he was putting into his efforts. I 20 could hear him grunt as he pulled and pushed, and I saw the

perspiration dripping from his face and naked arms. He withdrew the bar—the end that had been inside the door came out as white and as pliable as a hank of taffy—and dropped it to the

floor. He shouted some command to an invisible person, and 25 the door rose slowly and quietly, disclosing to me a great, snow

white cavern in whose depths bubbled and boiled a seething lake of steel.

With a quick movement of his hand the workman dropped a pair of dark-colored spectacles before his eyes, and his arms 30 went up before his face to shield it from the withering blast that

poured out through the open door. There he stood, silhouetted against that piercing light, stooping and peering, tiptoeing and bending, cringing and twisting, as he tried to examine something

back in the furnace. Then with another shout he caused the 35 door to slip down into its place.

« ForrigeFortsett »