Quartz from the Uplands by Lewis McKenzie Turner


Piermont, N. Y.




Who Say? “All songs have been sung;

All tales have been told;

Live tongues are still’d—

Worn smooth by precedent!”

In the fullness of the soul

There lives—strong bound—

Only to be unloos’d by greater deed and action;

An unfathomable wealth

From which to draw forever—

Never to be wholly used.

Is it for you

To stand at the bier of the dead past

Mute—to consent, that:

“All! has been sung and writ”?

No! Insistingly, Persistently beat loud upon the temple door—steeled well to hear the mock and din and laughter and deriding, doubting shouts of those within,

That you may full awake the throng without—

Those who sleep, work, hope and pray.

You must proclaim again, again,

This Truth!

The multitude at last will stand aghast, amazed, ashamed;

Thy liberty deny,

Yea, crucify.

To them:—What is, is; and what is, is to remain unchanged forever.

To learn the lesson, to equip and grade thy purging fire;

Go forth to some unfrequented spot

And reason with thyself, comparing notes with Nature.

See it. Feel it. Hear it.

The all-prevailing, pervading, constant, ever changing. From Winter’s silence, breathing, sighing, sleeping, creeping on to Spring with sap, with shoot, with bud and flower, hour on hour playing, plying gentleness and power for Summer’s rest to temper strength for birth in Autumn, with crowning brilliancy and rich rewards untaxed to bird, to beast, to insect and to man, gift on gift for full contentment, sustenance and labor.

From this you will accumulate a store so full,

That every thought’s a prayer;

The simplest acts of things are miracles—

The whole a revelation,

To guide thy way and being.

Kill not, dissect not, nor rend or tear,

But see and feel and hear.

The earth, the air and sea abound

With righteous living creatures,

Intent upon some full purpose;—

Aside from man’s estate,

Aside from his designing selfishness, intensely useless graspings, destruction, purposeless desire,

For his good use and keeping,

The forest, field and sea

And all that lies beneath.

But if to be a “Bard Sublime?”—

A prater,

Aspiring to soar ’midst lofty peaks on painted scenes; to catch with musty mystery; with empty schemes of praise; with sheens of artificial light, spread o’er this prolonged night and sleep of letters; or with palsied moonbeams that miniature the day and blight tart speech and full-ripe reason;

To buoy vanity;

To bid for foolish charlatan’s esteem,

To live apart at ease and shirk,

Good hard holy healthy work;

To mingle not with clean magnetic dirt,

With healing, building sunshine, air and rain.—

Then be a heralder of “New Thought”

Cite from thy store:

Great Deeds

And haughty interminglings;

Praise, to have a share;

Valor, in which words win;

Chastisement, which you do not feel;

Abnegation, with no self-denial.

Whatever thy saying,

Mark you full well

That all such machinations

Must and will be counted less

Than Brawn-Studies in great Nature’s realm.

If swept away from Nature’s gentle sway

Too weak to rise and understand

Thy full purpose, and the coming day:—

Then feed, feed on thy kind and kith and kin

Plunge in, into the maelstrom;

Amidst the deaf’ning roar,

Swim ’midst molten masses,

Breast cataracts of seething, living action,

Tell of harnessing of power,

Of screech and scream,

Of whirr of wheels;

Of lightning’s use and speed;

Of clank and bang and whisp and twirl of rasp and plane and drill on rock and wood and metal.

For therein lies a ripe, rich, unwrit story;

And place the credit where the credit’s due.

Use freely, and without fear thy caustic pen,

Ruffle, ruthlessly pursue, dog and undo

Proud spirited, designing men.

Spur the laggard.

Jeer at that part of press which teems with misstatements, lies, inuendos—

Those who prod and sting;

Excite the very life they claim to be,

For gain,

For great and greater power, circulation.

A song or story to go on, up, through distant ages

Must be full told and strong with facts:—

Tell of myriads of human beings,

Crushed, dwarfed, poisoned and devoured,

By the arts and manufactures;

Voices drown’d, subdued, smothered amid the din.

Tell of the march of industry’s deafening roar affecting a nation’s reasoning and sealing its store of finest instincts.

Tell of designing kings of trade

Who, on a free man’s soil!

So multiplied their wealth

That all their fellow-beings

Were their willing slave—

Slaves living lives in imputrid bodies—

Souls seasoned with sorrows and blasted hopes;

Of endless yesterdays,

Long looking and longing and looking

For happiness, to come on some to-morrow.

Tell of serfs, dumb,

Blind and starved by greed;

Ground ’twixt its own mill-stones;

Prating prayers to God

While God looks on amazed

At supine strength

Behind these wills and souls inactive.

Bound to an unjust cause;

Held firm by statute and multiplying laws.

Tell how they bound themselves:

For paltry bits of food—

For half-made clothes—

And shacks for shelter

For which they gave full rights to use Man’s Acre,

And all the treasures that lie beneath.

Tell of rampant selfishness run riot;

Of countless serfs—

The earth’s scum;

Floating to this free land

To climb upon it and gorge on gold galore;

With inspirations only of eternal happiness in idleness;

Playing wanton parts;

Dragging in their brazened gods and images;

Feeding on rotten greed;

Loaded with besotted vices

Practising stupid customs,

These, all these—

With voice and vote,—

To sweep aside the well devised purpose,

Built by patriarchs for equal rights and honors.

They came, to make a Nation of all nations—

But after all, no nation,

No man’s land.

Tell of poisoned, delayed and decayed food in transit.

Tell of the settlement of nations’ differences

By “good offices” for peace,

With long—drawn—out, decrepit, verbose, empty ceremony.

Of International Law—

The Will of Power.

Of nations, swearing by the “Prince of Peace”

Continuing to fortify with great and greater guns,

Mobilizing husbands to defeat husbandry;

Bedecking them with gilt without,

Stuffing vanity and pompousness within.

But, if you see through the roseate glass,

Of swaggering optimism

Proclaim, that:—

“‘God is working out His will’—

Too slow perhaps

For challengers of spotted vice;

For those who seek for the world’s and the Nation’s failings, inhuman sloth, stubbornness and sin.”

Whatever thy chronicle,

Let it not savor of a full stomach’s satisfaction

That feels content with ill-got gain derived from tricks of trade.

Live amidst conditions on both sides;

Experience the chill and pinch of poverty;

Feel the cold steel bands about an undeveloped soul;

Want for tools and an opportunity to do some useful chosen work,

Then will you write full well,

Write strong thy story,

Chronicling on golden pages;

Infinite views,

To march to triumph with the Truth of Truths;

’Twill live on and up and through

The distant ages.