Verse > Anthologies > Thomas R. Lounsbury, ed. > Yale Book of American Verse
Thomas R. Lounsbury, ed. (1838–1915). Yale Book of American Verse.  1912.
George Pratt. 1832–1875
176. A Pen of Steel
GIVE me a pen of steel! 
  Away with the gray goose-quill! 
I will grave the thoughts I feel 
  With a fiery heart and will: 
I will grave with the stubborn pen         5
  On the tablets of the heart, 
Words never to fade again 
  And thoughts that shall ne'er depart. 
Give me a pen of steel! 
  Hardened and bright and keen,—  10
To run like the chariot wheel, 
  When the battle-flame is seen:— 
And give me the warrior's heart, 
  To struggle thro' night and day, 
And to write with this thing of art  15
  Words clear as the lightning's play. 
Give me a pen of steel! 
  The softer age is done, 
And the thoughts that lovers feel 
  Have long been sought and won:—  20
No more of the gray goose-quill— 
  No more of the lover's lay— 
I have done with the minstrel's skill, 
  And I change my path to-day. 
Give me a pen of steel!  25
  I will tell to after-times 
How nerve and iron will 
  Are poured to the world in rhymes:— 
How the soul is changed to power, 
  And the heart is changed to flame,  30
In the space of a passing hour 
  By poverty and shame! 
Give me a pen of steel!— 
  But even this shall rust, 
The touch of time shall feel,  35
  And crumble away to dust:— 
So perishes my heart, 
  Corroding day by day— 
And laid like the pen apart, 
  Worn out and cast away!  40

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