Two Boys

Menella Bute Smedley

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Two boys stood on a height
Reading their coming lives in earth and sky;
One clapp'd his hands in gay delight,
And cried, “How grand a sailor-king am I!”
The other did not even see the waves
That beat against the cliff in harmless strife;

I think he thought the world was only graves,—
I think he thought the skies were only life.
One cried, “How grand a king!
For I shall hold the storm-wind in my hand;
Shall crush the storm-beasts as they spring,
And battle with the waves,—Ah, ha! how grand!
I on my deck am mighty lord of all,
A monarch must obey my lightest breath,
Each sign I give—each word that I let fall
Are to a hundred creatures life or death!”

“Oh, life!” the other cried;
Oh, death! what are they? death is life alone,
And if the tempest drown thy pride,
And if thy word brings death, life is unknown;
From me shall spring the only life in life.
The only life in death; let tempests fall—
Let dreadful storm-beasts crush us in the strife,
The death they bring, brings life, best life of all!”

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