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Songs and Ballads for Manufacturers

By the Rev. John Mason Neale

London: Joseph Masters, 1850.

VIII. The Iron-Founders.

Tis a fearful sight, on a Winter's night,
When the wind on the moors is high,
And here and there the furnace-glare,
Is ruddy across the sky:
And horribly bright from its funnel's height
A sheet of flame is cast;
And far below is the livid glow
Of the iron melting fast.

A weary watch, while others sleep,
A weary watch have we;
When the frost is sharp, and the night is deep,
And as lone as lone can be:
And the blast, that nothing can weary, roars
To the wind that roars again;
You might keep alive, with the air it pours,
Two hundred thousand men!

And hour by hour, as the distant stroke
Of the old church-clock we hear,
We feed the furnace with lime and coke,
Whereon he makes good cheer:
And hour by hour, in his red, red sides,
He melts the ore away;
And the liquid stream of metal glides
From the hearth to its bed of clay.

And this is the way that our hours decay,
And these are the toils that wear;
For our children's sake our rest we break
From youth to the hoary hair:
The very iron we fashion out,
Of turmoil tells its tale;
The cannon that roars in the battle-shout,
The anchor and the rail.

We murmur not that the words were said
To all of mortal frame,
In the sweat of our brow we must needs eat bread,
Till we turn from whence we came:
But when clouds fly off, and tempests cease,
And skies are calm and clear,
We cannot but long for the Land of Peace,
And the quiet we know not here!

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