Roundelay Of The Roughneck
Let others croon of lover's moon,
Of roses, birds on wing,
Maidens, the waltz's dreaming tune,—
Of strong thewed deeds I sing.
Let poets seek the tinted reek,
Perfume of ladies gay,
Of winds of wild outlands I speak,
The lash of far sea spray.
Of dear swamp brakes, of storm whipped lakes,
Dank jungle, reedy fen,
Of seas the pound the plunging strakes,
Of men and deeds of men.
Prospector; king of the battling ring;
Tarred slave of tide's behests,
Monarchs of muscle shall I sing,
Lords of the hairy chests.
Though some may stay 'neath cities away,
To toil with maul and hod,
To outer trails most take their way,
To lands yet scarcely trod.
The torrent's might, the dizzy height,
Shall never bate their breath,
With desert's toils they match their might,
And hurl their mocks at Death.
The tropic creek, the jungle reek
That steams through sullen trees,
The boding wild where leopards shriek
Holds never fear for these.
Nor do they shrink from hell's own brink,
When kites low wheeling fly,
And circling near the jackals slink,
And sands stretch bare to sky.
Far swing their trails through calms and gales,
From Polar sea to Horn,
From bleak ice-glittering peaks and vales,
To sun-kissed seas of morn.
In driving snow, where artic floe
Surges though ice-reft straits,
Where bergs sweep southward, row on row,
And wind fiends shriek their hates.
Where the broad sun smiles on a hundred isles
With the long sea reach between,
And the lone gull wheels for a thousand miles,
And the reefs lift fanged and lean.
On Polar trails where the screeching gales
Bellow and roar and blow,
And the skies are gone while the firece wind rails,
And the path fades in the snow.
By atolls lean where ships careen,
In the sullen, still lagoon.
And crouching bushman's spear is a sheen
In the light of the shuddering moon.
In the marshy swamp, in the jungle damp,
Tall trees in marching lines,
That echo again to the tusker's tramp,
Where the tiger glides through the vines.
On mountains bleak, on cliff and peak,
From Pole to Pole and Line,
Adventure still they ever seek,
Adventure still they find.