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| Home | Reading Room The New McGuffey Fourth Reader

The New McGuffey Fourth Reader
by William H. McGuffey, Compiler

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Harness me down with your iron bands,

Be sure of your curb and rein,

For I scorn the strength of your puny hands

As a tempest scorns a chain.

How I laughed as I lay concealed from sight,

For many a countless hour,

At the childish boasts of human might,

And the pride of human power!

When I saw an army upon the land,

A navy upon the seas,

Creeping along, a snail-like band,

Or waiting the wayward breeze;

When I saw the peasant faintly reel,

With the toil which he faintly bore,

As constant he turned at the tardy wheel,

Or tugged at the weary oar;

When I measured the panting courser's speed,

The flight of the carrier dove,

As they bore a law a king decreed,

Or the lines of impatient love;

I could not but think how the world would feel,

As these were outstripped far,

When I should be bound to the rushing keel,

Or chained to the flying car.

Ha ha! ha ha! they found me at last,

They invited me forth at length;

And I rushed to my throne with a thunder-blast,

And laughed in my iron strength.

Oh then you saw a wonderous change

On earth and ocean wide,

Where now my fiery armies range,

Nor wait for wind nor tide.

Hurrah! hurrah! the waters o'er

The mountain's steep declines

Time, space, have yielded to my power,

The world, the world is mine!

The rivers the sun has earliest blessed,

And those where his beams decline,

The giant streams of the queenly West,

And the Orient floods divine.

In the darksome depths of the fathomless mine

My tireless arm doth play;

Where the rocks ne'er saw the sun's decline,

Or the dawn of the glorious day.

I bring earth's glittering jewels up

From the hidden cave below;

And I make the fountain's granite cup

With a crystal gush o'erflow.

I blow the bellows, I forge the steel,

In all the shops of trade;

I hammer the ore, and turn the wheel

Where my arms of strength are made;

I manage the furnace, the mill, the mint;

I carry, I spin, I weave;

And all my doings I put into print,

On every Saturday eve.

I've no muscle to weary, no frame to decay,

No bones to be laid on the shelf;

And soon I intend you shall go and play,

While I manage the world myself.

But harness me down with your iron bands,

Be sure of your curb and rein,

For I scorn the strength of your puny hands,

As the tempest scorns a chain.




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