HAPPY he in whom the honest love of fair endeavour lingers,
Who has strength to do his labour, and has pride to do it well,
Carve he gems of purest water with an artist’s cunning fingers,
Hew the granite, forge the beam, or make a simple tale to tell
His to feel a glow ecstatic of the mighty exhultation
That arose when out of chaos all the wheeling planets stood.
Since when God beheld the wonder, saw the stir of His creation
In the busy scheme of heaven, and He said that it was good,
Never man has made with willing hands some thing of true intention—
Cut in bone a strange, rude picture to inspire the naked hordes,
Or contrived a subtle engine with laborious invention—
But has entered straight and freely to the joy that was the Lord’s
Those so blessed have with them solace, balm to still the ache of sorrow,
One companion who will cleave when friends and kindred turn away;
But a jealous mistress is she, and be sure again to-morrow
She will draw you back repentant if ye wander far to-day.
Few there are that know the ardour. Some are weaving songs of beauty,
Some have harped the living music, some have built with noblest skill,
Some are simple men exulting in the moiler’s primal duty,
When they swing their axes high or ring the hammer on the drill.
Not to all that love is given art, the clear, unfailing vision,
Not power to carve the perfect form, the bravest lances hurled,
But the humblest hand sincere desire has quickened to decision
Beats a line of grace eternal in the metal of the world.
Men have prayed for many blessings, for the boon of ease have ever
Plagued the God that drave out Adam to the tilling of the soil—
Speak a prayer of honest effort to the God of Vast Endeavour:
Give for each his toil, O Lord—for each the pride and joy of toil!