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 The Dialogue of the Spirits
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The Dialogue of the Spirits
by Sam Walter Foss

Says the Spirit of To-day to the Spirit of All Time:
"Have you seen my big machines?
My fire steeds, thunder-shuttlecocks, that dart from chime to chime,
Hear the lyrics of their driving rods, the modern chant sublime --"
Says the Spirit of To-day to the Spirit of All Time:
"Have you seen my big machines?"

"Hear the thunder of my mills," says the Spirit of To-day.
"Hear my harnessed rivers pant.
Men are jockeys with the lightnings, and they drive them where they may,
They are builders of the cataracts that dare not say them nay,
And the rivers are their drudges," says the Spirit of To-day,
"Hear my harnessed, rivers pant."

Says the Spirit of All Time to the Spirit of To-day:
"Haste and let your work go on.
Tap the fires of the under world to bake your bread, I say;
Belt the tides to sew your garments, hitch the suns to draw your sleigh."
Says the Spirit of All Time to the Spirit of To-day:
"Haste and let your work go on."

"But," says the Spirit of All Time to the Spirit of To-day:
"Tell us, how about your men?
Shall they, like live automatons, still drudge their lives away,
When the rivers, tides and lightnings join to help them on their way?"
Says the Spirit of All Time to the Spirit of To-day:
"Tell us, how about your men?

"Yes, harness every river above the cataract's brink,
And then unharness man.
To earth's reservoir of fire let your giant shaftings sink,
And scourge your drudging thunderbolts -- but give man time to think;
Throw your bridles on the rivers, curb them at the cataract's brink --
And then unharness man."

Says the Spirit of All Time: "In this climax of the years
Make no machine of man.
Your harnessed rivers panting are as lyrics in my ears,
And your jockeyed lightnings' clatterings are as music of the spheres,
But 'tis well that you remember, in this climax of the years:
Make no machine of man."