Deep in the horrors of the North,
With gleaming eyes and steady soul
Heroes compel their passage forth
To pierce the mystery of the pole.
Superb their passion, hold their aim,
But ah, what barren goals suffice!—
The echo of an empty fame,
The conquest of a league of ice!
Comrades of clouds along the air
Speeding the way Columbus went,
Oh, latest Argonauts, that dare
The one unmastered element!
And yet what needless heroes they,
Venturing life to find us wings,
That men may have one other way
To roam on fruitless wanderings!
With patient eyes the long still night,
Sages through starry jungles grope,
Happy, if some new speck of light
Fall on the fortunate telescope.
Their name is catalogued with it,
The sky has one more charted spot;
But no more lights on earth are lit,
And star and sage are soon forgot.
Ah, happy he whose ardent goal
Within the human spirit lies.
Who in the regions of the soul
Embarks on daring enterprise!
Dangers are there that arctic sea
And tropic desert never know,
Tempests of passion fierce and free,
Waves of despair and gulfs of woe.
And wings are there that soar and fly
Above the snarling of the storm,
To sunny reaches of the sky
Where life is light and love is warm.
And there are galaxies afar,
World beyond world in endless range,
Where never imperfections mar,
And never gladness fears a change.
Not in the realm of braggart gold
And crowns that glitter to the eye,
Are meeds that bless and joys that hold
And purposes that satisfy.
But happy he whose honest mind,
With all he loves and all he can,
Is dedicated to mankind,
And seeks the common good of man.