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THE SUEZ CANAL.
I stood alone one dying winter day
Died into blackness, and the old black barge
What wonder if my fancy flung me far From that old English barge and dull canal Before me, to new thought of that great work In Egypt where tall vessels thread the land Disdainful of old bondage, and the sands Once smooth, are blotted by the feet of men. Then first, it seemed, the tale so often heard Rose into meaning; as the deaf, they say, Will oft-times wait until the spoken word, At first mere sound, breaks in upon their sense. I seemed half awed as by a message rung From out the childhood of my life : the film Of conscious brain-work and thick-veiling words Thinned, and I saw the present of the World Stand forth unhidden, as some far white cliff Gleams out sun-lightened from amid grey haze Blown landward from the West. Methought I passed Beyond road-netted England, far beyond The tired tossing of the wayward sea, O'er plain and tumbled mountain, till I came And watched, methought, the low and sandy shore Of Africa, where sunburnt sailors thronged Slow moving hulls, and many shadows streaked The dimpled glory of the crimson sea. Inland slow-gliding masts would seem to call Their tardy fellows loth to leave their home In kindly Europe, while far travelled hulls From the strange East lay sleeping quietly, Once more home-cradled, with their blistered sides
Withered in heat of glaring tropic suns
I heard a story told of the great earth-
No more, no more shall weary nations track Fresh bubble-paths around the cape of storms, No more shall Europe seek the Eastern world Through burning wilds of fickle Southern seas, For lo ! the Eastern and the Western world Now hold each other by a silver thread, And down the thread as down a gossamer Flash sunny gleams that lighten all the world. Along the shores of burning India, By swirling river mouths, and 'mid the green Of dim root-cumbered forests there shall rise Long lines of crouching dwellings; trodden ways Shall gleam foot-weeded and much seed be sown In corners of God's garden.—What! be sown To bring a deadly crop, a poisoned fruit, A curse upon the world ? Yet know we naught