The Cave Man’s Prayer
(Unattributed but thought possibly to be by Rudyard Kipling)
This is the prayer the cave-man prayed,
When first the household fires he lit,
And saw the solemn stars o’erhead
Contemptuously looked down on it
The sweep and silence of the night,
The brooding dusk on every side
Oppressed his simple mind with fright
And ‘Heaven send me friends’ he cried
‘Wise friends who know what track will lure
The wounded mammoth to defeat.
And cunning friends who have the cure
For pains inside me when I eat.
Strong friends who know how spears are hurled,
Bold friends that charge and drive them in.
It takes all sorts to make a world,
But give me friends and I’ll begin.’
The gods considered his distress
And guided to his lonely blaze
Companions in loneliness
The cave-men of the elder days
With twitching nose and eyes astare,
They crouched and watched him for a spell,
Till to his caution ‘who goes there?’
They grunted ‘Friend’ and all was well.
And when at last their leave they took
Refreshed by meat and drink and talk,
For lack of any proper book,
They scratched their Totems on the chalk,
And host and hostess at the door
Bade them goodbye and made their plans
Next Saturday to ask some more
And that was how the world began.
The wash tub and the kitchen range
Electric lighting, paper, pens,
Affect the life but do not change
The heart of Homo Sapiens.
O long, long may the record run,
And you enjoy until it ends,
The four best gifts beneath the sun;
Love, peace and health, and honest friends.
BY ARTHUR O'SHAUGHNESSY
We are the music makers,
And we are the dreamers of dreams,
Wandering by lone sea-breakers,
And sitting by desolate streams; —
World-losers and world-forsakers,
On whom the pale moon gleams:
Yet we are the movers and shakers
Of the world for ever, it seems.
With wonderful deathless ditties
We build up the world's great cities,
And out of a fabulous story
We fashion an empire's glory:
One man with a dream, at pleasure,
Shall go forth and conquer a crown;
And three with a new song's measure
Can trample a kingdom down.
We, in the ages lying,
In the buried past of the earth,
Built Nineveh with our sighing,
And Babel itself in our mirth;
And o'erthrew them with prophesying
To the old of the new world's worth;
For each age is a dream that is dying,
Or one that is coming to birth.
A breath of our inspiration
Is the life of each generation;
A wondrous thing of our dreaming
Unearthly, impossible seeming —
The soldier, the king, and the peasant
Are working together in one,
Till our dream shall become their present,
And their work in the world be done.
They had no vision amazing
Of the goodly house they are raising;
They had no divine foreshowing
Of the land to which they are going:
But on one man's soul it hath broken,
A light that doth not depart;
And his look, or a word he hath spoken,
Wrought flame in another man's heart.
And therefore to-day is thrilling
With a past day's late fulfilling;
And the multitudes are enlisted
In the faith that their fathers resisted,
And, scorning the dream of to-morrow,
Are bringing to pass, as they may,
In the world, for its joy or its sorrow,
The dream that was scorned yesterday.
But we, with our dreaming and singing,
Ceaseless and sorrowless we!
The glory about us clinging
Of the glorious futures we see,
Our souls with high music ringing:
O men! it must ever be
That we dwell, in our dreaming and singing,
A little apart from ye.
For we are afar with the dawning
And the suns that are not yet high,
And out of the infinite morning
Intrepid you hear us cry —
How, spite of your human scorning,
Once more God's future draws nigh,
And already goes forth the warning
That ye of the past must die.
Great hail! we cry to the comers
From the dazzling unknown shore;
Bring us hither your sun and your summers;
And renew our world as of yore;
You shall teach us your song's new numbers,
And things that we dreamed not before:
Yea, in spite of a dreamer who slumbers,
And a singer who sings no more.