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

Bliss Carman 1861–1929

Hack and Hew


HACK and Hew were the sons of God

In the earlier earth than now:

One at his right hand, one at his left,

To obey as he taught them how.

And Hack was blind, and Hew was dumb,

But both had the wild, wild heart;

And God’s calm will was their burning will,

And the gist of their toil was art.

They made the moon and the belted stars,

They set the sun to ride;

They loosed the girdle and veil of the sea,

The wind and the purple tide.

Both flower and beast beneath their hands

To beauty and speed outgrew,—

The furious, fumbling hand of Hack,

And the glorying hand of Hew.

Then, fire and clay, they fashioned a man,

And painted him rosy brown;

And God himself blew hard in his eyes:

“Let them burn till they smoulder down!”

And “There!” said Hack, and “There!” thought Hew,

“We ’ll rest, for our toil is done.”

But “Nay,” the Master Workman said,

“For your toil is just begun.

“And ye who served me of old as God

Shall serve me anew as man,

Till I compass the dream that is in my heart,

And perfect the vaster plan.”

And still the craftsman over his craft,

In the vague white light of dawn,

With God’s calm will for his burning will,

While the mounting day comes on,

Yearning, wind-swift, indolent, wild,

Toils with those shadowy two,—

The faltering, restless hand of Hack,

And the tireless hand of Hew.