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A thousand vessels breasting wind and ocean,
   A thousand fire-cars, snorting on their way,
Shall startle London with a strange commotion,
   Beneath the genial loveliness of May;
And we shall hail the peaceable invasion
   With voice of welcome, cordial grasp of hand,
And, in the grandeur of the great occasion,
   See signs of brotherhood 'tween every land.

Would I might walk beneath that dome transcendent,
   Than old Alhambra's halls more proudly fair;
Nay, than Aladdin's palace more resplendent,
   Bright as if quarried from the fields of air;
Would I might wander in its wondrous mazes,
   Filled with embodied thought in every guise;
See Art and Science in their countless phases,
   And bless the power that gave them to my eyes.

Men are about me with pale, vacant faces,
   Human in shape, in spirit dark and low;
They do not care for Genius and its graces,
   Nor understand, nor do they seek to know.
But I had read and pondered; feeling ever
   Deep reverence for the lofty, good, and true,
And, therefore, yearn to see this high endeavour
   Stand grandly realised before my view.

But what to me are these inspiring changes,
   That gorgeous show, that spectacle sublime?
My labour, leagued with poverty, estranges
   Me from this mental marvel of our time.
I cannot share the triumph and the pageant,
   I, a poor toiler at the whirling wheel,
The slave, not servant, of a ponderous agent,
   With bounding steam-pulse, and with arms of steel.

My ears are soothed by no melodious measures,
   No work of sculptor charms my longing gaze;
No painter thrills me with exalted pleasures,
   But books and thought have cheered my darkest days.
Thank God for Sundays! then impartial nature
   Folds me within the shadow of her wings,
And drinking in her every voice and feature,
   I feel more reconciled to men and things.

I shall not see our Babel's summer wonder,
   Save in the proseman's page, the poet's song,
But I shall hear it in the far-off thunder
   Of distant lands, applauding loud and long;
Why should I murmur? I shall share with others
   The glorious fruits of that triumphant day:
Hail to the time that makes all nations brothers!
   Hail to the advent of the coming May!


One of the most amusing characteristics of
all classes of us in England, is the natural
ability we have for an agitation. You would
think that we were born ready for it, and
that it was but one step from the cradle
to " the chair." The other day there was
an injustice done to the " engine-drivers."
Straightway there was a public meeting of
them. Judging from the casual glimpse you
get at an engine-driver as the long expected
train skims alongside the platform of the roadside
station, you carry away an impression of
him as a stern weather-beaten man, with a
red-face and fierce eyes, with a fur cap tied
over his ears, and a furnace glaring at his
rear; presently, he makes his iron slave give
a wild, sad shriek, that resounds over the
landscape, and forthwith, his nose is cutting
the air like a Parthian arrow. But go and
see this unearthly man conducting his " agitation,"
and you find him a decorous chairman,
sitting behind pens, ink, papers, and tape,
moving a resolution, and speaking, for the
first time in his life, more fluently than most
county members after long practice. He is
English, and he is agitating.

But a sailor agitating! That is surely an
anomalous spectacle. A man who is scarcely
used to any sort of chair whatever, taking the
chair. That certainly seems preposterous!
I confess I was in alarm for my favourite
tribe when I saw, the other day, that they
were commencing a " vigorous agitation." It
seemed, somehow, so un-natural. The shade
of Benbow began to haunt me; I was uneasy
and perturbed. The event was contrary to all
our habitual and traditionary notions, and I
kept wondering what,

"In name of great Oceanus;
By the earth-shaking Neptune's mace,
And Tethys' grave majestic pace,

would become of us, if even our very sailors
were obliged to come out as agitators. It
seems so odd that nobody can get their
handful of apples in this country, without
raising a gale of wind that shakes the whole

I had observed, when I was visiting the
"Sailor's Home," a general uneasiness in
the nautical eye. The independent roll was a
little straightened by suspicion. The devil-
may-care look of the tar was changed to a
devil-does-care expression. There was an air
of grim uneasiness about him. I remarked it
in all my peregrinations; its shadow was on
Wapping; it traversed Ratcliffe Highway.
Nay, when my zeal took me to visit one or
two of their more joyous haunts, the spectre
was seated in the " parlour." His unseen but
clearly felt presence was seated among the
pipes. Jack was moody. He wandered up
and down with hands in pockets, eyes bent
downwards, whistling in a low and gloomy
manner. In the " Marlingspike "—the
headquarters of the movement, as I learnedone
or two deputies were talking to each other.
Anon, a sailor dropped in, and asked briefly,
"Any noose? " " Not a word." The door
moved a moment and he was gone. One man
was smoking a pipe with an air of dark
deliberation, then looking up and fixing his
eyes on a comrade, and dropping them again.
It seemed that that night there was to be a
great meeting of sailors, when the delegates
were to deliver an answer which the Board of
Trade was to send them to their recent

The reader must be informed, before he
accompanies me to the meeting, that it was
to complain of the recent Act13 and 14