Verse > Anthologies > Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. > A Victorian Anthology, 1837–1895
Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. (1833–1908).  A Victorian Anthology, 1837–1895.  1895.
The Soul Stithy
James Chapman Woods
MY soul, asleep between its body throes,
Mid leagues of darkness watch’d a furnace glare,
And breastless arms that wrought laborious there,—
Power without plan, wherefrom no purpose grows,—
Welding white metal on a forge with blows,        5
Whence stream’d the singing sparks like flaming hair,
Which whirling gusts ever abroad would bear:
And still the stithy hammers fell and rose.
And then I knew those sparks were souls of men,
And watch’d them driven like starlets down the wind.        10
A myriad died and left no trace to tell;
An hour like will-o’-the-wisps some lit the fen;
Now one would leave a trail of fire behind:
And still the stithy-hammers rose and fell.


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