Railways

‘No poetry in Railways!’ foolish thought
Of a dull brain, to no fine music wrought.
By Mammon dazzled, though the people prize
The gold alone, yet shall not we despise
The triumphs of our time, or fail to see
Of pregnant mind the fruitful progeny
Ushering the daylight of the world's new morn.
Look up, ye doubters, be no more forlorn!—
Smooth your rough brows, ye little wise: rejoice,
Ye who despond: and with exulting voice
Salute, ye earnest spirits of our time,
The young Improvement ripening to her prime,
Who, in the fulness of her genial youth,
Prepares the way for Liberty and Truth,
And breaks the barriers that, since earth began,
Have made mankind the enemy of man.

Lay down your rails, ye nations, near and far—
Yoke your full trains to Steam's triumphal car;
Link town to town; unite in iron bands
The long-estranged and oft-embattled lands.
Peace, mild-eyed Seraph—Knowledge, light divine,
Shall send their messengers by every line.
Men, joined in amity, shall wonder long
That Hate had power to lead their fathers wrong;
Or that false Glory lured their hearts astray,
And made it virtuous and sublime to slay.

Blessings on Science! When the earth seem'd old,
When Faith grew doting, and the Reason cold,
'Twas she discover'd that the world was young,
And taught a language to its lisping tongue:
'T was she disclosed a future to its view,
And made old Knowledge pale before the new.

Blessings on Science! In her dawning hour
Faith knit her brow, alarm'd for ancient power;
Then look'd again upon her face sincere,
Held out her hand, and hail'd her—Sister dear;
And Reason, free as eagle on the wind,
Swoop'd o'er the fallow meadows of the mind,
And, clear of vision, saw what seed would grow
On the hill slopes, or in the vales below;
What in the sunny South, or nipping Nord,
And from her talons dropp'd it as she soar'd.

Blessings on Science, and her handmaid Steam!
They make Utopia only half a dream;
And show the fervent, of capacious souls,
Who watch the ball of Progress as it rolls,
That all as yet completed, or begun,
Is but the dawning that precedes the sun.
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