Smooth white paper 'neath the pen;
Richest field that iron ploughs,
Germinating thoughts of men,
Though no heaven its rain allows;
Till they ripen, thousand fold,
And our spirits reap the corn,
In a day-long dream of gold;
Food for all the souls unborn.
Like the murmur of the earth,
When we listen stooping low;
Like the sap that sings in mirth,
Hastening up the trees that grow;
Evermore a tiny song
Sings the pen unto it, while
Thought's elixir flows along,
Diviner than the holy Nile.
Greater than the sphering sea,
For it holds the sea and land;
Seed of all ideas to be
Down its current borne like sand.
How our fathers in the dark
Pored on it the plans obscure,
By star-light or stake-fires stark
Tracing there the path secure.
The poor paper drawn askance
With the spell of Truth half-known,
Holds back Hell of ignorance,
Roaring round us, thronged, alone.
O white list of champions,
Spirit born, and schooled for fight,
Mailed in armour of the sun's
Who shall win our utmost right!
Think of paper lightly sold,
Which few pence had made too dear
On its blank to have enscrolled
Beatrice, Lucifer, or Lear!
Think of paper Milton took,
Written, in his hands to feel,
Musing of what things a look
Down its pages would reveal.
O the glorious Heaven wrought
By Cadmean souls of yore,
From pure element of thought!
And thy leaves they are its door!
Light they open, and we stand
Past the sovereignty of Fate,
Glad amongst them, calm and grand,
The Creators and Create!