Song of the Man Engine

May 23, 2007

I’ll put this to a tune soon.

Ho! ho! for my arms of steel!
That are always strong, and never can feel
The weakness that creeps o’er the muscles of man
(Though they fashioned mine by some curious plan).
As he trembling clings to the ladder’s round
Two hundred fathoms under the ground!

Weary with toil for one third the day
I hear their footfalls coming this way;
Put on thy strength, O arms of mine,
Carry them up where the sun doth shine.
One by one they come without sound
From two hundred fathoms under the ground!

Hammers and drills they’ve left behind.
Down in the caves their strength hath mined.
And quickly their fears all pass away,
As swiftly they return to the upper day —
Trusting the friend whose arms they’ve found
Two hundred fathoms under the ground!

O noble’s the task that is mine to perform.
‘Tis ever the same in sunshine and storm:
A while I am master, yet ever the slave,
For the lives of men my energies save.
And they bow to me when my arms reach down
Two hundred fathoms under the ground!

Then ho! again for my arms of steel!
And ho! for my rods and strong toothed wheel!
Ho! ho! O man! for the MAN ENGINE!
I’ll save your strength if you manage mine,
And ne’er shall you reel on the ladder’s round
Two hundred fathoms under the ground!
Two hundred fathoms under the ground!

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