THE World was builded out of flame and storm.
The oak, blast-beaten on the hills, stands forth,
Stalwart and strong. The ore is broken, crushed
And sifted in the fiery crucible;
The remnant is pure gold. Brave hearts must dare
The billowy surge beneath the stern white stars
To net the finny harvests of the sea.
No boon is won, but some true hero dies.
Therefore is every gift a sacrament,
And every service is a holy thing,–
Not unto him whose filthy pence unearned
The treasure buys, but to the one who takes
The gift with reverence from that unknown
Who went forth brave and strong, came broken back,
But won for us a rare and priceless pearl.