The Cable Hymn

A poem by John Greenleaf Whittier

O lonely bay of Trinity,
O dreary shores, give ear!
Lean down unto the white-lipped sea
The voice of God to hear!

From world to world His couriers fly,
Thought-winged and shod with fire;
The angel of His stormy sky
Rides down the sunken wire.

What saith the herald of the Lord?
"The world's long strife is done;
Close wedded by that mystic cord,
Its continents are one.

"And one in heart, as one in blood,
Shall all her peoples be;
The hands of human brotherhood
Are clasped beneath the sea.

"Through Orient seas, o'er Afric's plain
And Asian mountains borne,
The vigor of the Northern brain
Shall nerve the world outworn.

"From clime to clime, from shore to shore,
Shall thrill the magic thread;
The new Prometheus steals once more
The fire that wakes the dead."

Throb on, strong pulse of thunder! beat
From answering beach to beach;
Fuse nations in thy kindly heat,
And melt the chains of each!

Wild terror of the sky above,
Glide tamed and dumb below!
Bear gently, Ocean's carrier-dove,
Thy errands to and fro.

Weave on, swift shuttle of the Lord,
Beneath the deep so far,
The bridal robe of earth's accord,
The funeral shroud of war!

For lo! the fall of Ocean's wall
Space mocked and time outrun;
And round the world the thought of all
Is as the thought of one!

The poles unite, the zones agree,
The tongues of striving cease;
As on the Sea of Galilee
The Christ is whispering, Peace!

. . . . .

"Glad prophecy! to this at last,"
The Reader said, "shall all things come.
Forgotten be the bugle's blast,
And battle-music of the drum.

"A little while the world may run
Its old mad way, with needle-gun
And iron-clad, but truth, at last, shall reign
The cradle-song of Christ was never sung in vain!"

Shifting his scattered papers, "Here,"
He said, as died the faint applause,
"Is something that I found last year
Down on the island known as Orr's.
I had it from a fair-haired girl
Who, oddly, bore the name of Pearl,
(As if by some droll freak of circumstance,)
Classic, or wellnigh so, in Harriet Stowe's romance.

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