The Word (“The word of the earth in the ears of the world, was it God? was it man?”—Swinburne, “Hymn of Man”)

O word of “man”,
A-top the concept, thing, that’s he,
Upon my lips, yea, firmly lay
Your master-morn of majesty,
Forever mighty, forced by none,
Not miracle, not lucky chance,
But mover prime of upward run
To rare new heights of sunlight’s glance
Where, shouting proud his name aloud
In joyous joy of flameless fire,
His body straight, his head unbowed,
He stands the star of his desire—
A glint of mind, a wind of will,
An only voice that echoes free
The thought inside that’s never still,
But stirs his flesh to match and be
The word of man in love-life act
Of selfish deed and shining fact!

O word of “man”,—the greatest word,
Most sacred word of any heard,
More loved of ears than peerless bird,
In mouth, on tongue, a music first
That feeds the soul of speaking thirst—
Enrich the air, make glad the earth,
Fill softest night and hardest day
With word of words that’s worth all worth
To praise a Maytime more than May
With concept, thing, of happy mind
That grasps a world all un-designed
And changes makes of things once strange
That his are now to re-arrange.
First Mover, Man, whose word is light,
O Man, Creator, sire of song,
Your “man” for man is true and right,
As “life” for life and “strong” for strong.
Then sing, O singers, sing with me
The word of “man” from sea to sea,
And worship word, and concept, thing,
And worship you whose mouths do sing!

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