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Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. (1833–1908). A Victorian Anthology, 1837–1895. 1895.

Sir Charles George Douglas Roberts 1860–1943



I AM the spirit astir

To swell the grain,

When fruitful suns confer

With laboring rain;

I am the life that thrills

In branch and bloom;

I am the patience of abiding hills,

The promise masked in doom.

When the sombre lands are wrung,

And storms are out,

And giant woods give tongue,

I am the shout;

And when the earth would sleep,

Wrapped in her snows,

I am the infinite gleam of eyes that keep

The post of her repose.

I am the hush of calm,

I am the speed,

The flood-tide’s triumphing psalm,

The marsh-pool’s heed;

I work in the rocking roar

Where cataracts fall;

I flash in the prismy fire that dances o’er

The dew’s ephemeral ball.

I am the voice of wind

And wave and tree,

Of stern desires and blind,

Of strength to be;

I am the cry by night

At point of dawn,

The summoning bugle from the unseen height,

In cloud and doubt withdrawn.

I am the strife that shapes

The stature of man,

The pang no hero escapes,

The blessing, the ban;

I am the hammer that moulds

The iron of our race,

The omen of God in our blood that a people beholds,

The foreknowledge veiled in our face.