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WHENE'ER a noble deed is wrought,
Whene'er is spoken a noble thought,

Our hearts, in glad surprise,
To higher levels rise.

The tidal wave of deeper souls
Into our inmost being rolls,

And lifts us unawares

Out of all meaner cares.

Honour to those whose words or deeds

Thus help us in our daily needs,

And by their overflow
Raise us from what is low!

Thus thought I, as by night I read
Of the great army of the dead,

The trenches cold and damp,
The starved and frozen camp, -

The wounded from the battle-plain,
In dreary hospitals of pain,

The cheerless corridors,
The cold and stony floors.


Lo! in that house of misery
A lady with a lamp I see

Pass through the glimmering gloom,
And flit from room to room.

And slow, as in a dream of bliss,
The speechless sufferer turns to kiss

Her shadow, as it falls
Upon the darkening walls.

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OTHERE, the old sea-captain,

Who dwelt in Helgoland,
To King Alfred, the Lover of Truth,
Brought a snow-white walrus-tooth,

Which he held in his brown right hand.


His figure was tall and stately,

Like a boy's his eye appeared ;
His hair was yellow as hay,
But threads of a silvery gray

Gleamed in his tawny beard.

Hearty and hale was Othere,

His cheek had the colour of oak; With a kind of laugh in his speech, Like the sea-tide on a beach,

As unto the King he spoke.

And Alfred, King of the Saxons,

Had a book upon his knees, And wrote down the wondrous tale

Of him who was first to sail

Into the Arctic seas.

“ So far I live to the northward,

No man lives north of me;
To the east are wild mountain-chains,
And beyond them meres and plains ;

To the westward all is sea.

“ So far I live to the northward,

From the harbour of Skeringes-hale, If you only sailed by day, With a fair wind all the way,

More than a month would you sail.

I own six hundred reindeer,

With sheep and swine beside;
I have tribute from the Finns,
Whalebone and reindeer-skins,

of walrus-hide.

“I ploughed the land with horses,

But my heart was ill at ease,
For the old seafaring men
Came to me now, and then,

With their sagas of the seas ;

Of Iceland and of Greenland,

And the stormy Hebrides,
And the undiscovered deep ;-
I could not eat nor sleep

For thinking of those seas.

“ To the northward stretched the desert,

How far I fain would know;
So at last I sallied forth,
And three days sailed due north,

As far as the whale-ships go.

66 To the west of me was the ocean,

To the right the desolate shore, But I did not slacken sail

For the walrus or the whale,

Till after three days more.

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