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    SALAMMBO.   Table of Contents     A CARNIVAL JANGLE.

Dunbar-Nelson, Alice
Violets and Other Tales

- LEGEND OF THE NEWSPAPER.

LEGEND OF THE NEWSPAPER.



Poets sing and fables tell us,
Or old folk lore whispers low,
Of the origin of all things,
Of the spring from whence they came,
Kalevala, old and hoary,
Æneid, Iliad, Æsop, too,
All are filled with strange quaint legands,
All replete with ancient tales,--
How love came, and how old earth,
Free from chaos, grew for us,
To a green and wondrous spheroid,
To a home for things alive;
How fierce fire and iron cold,
How the snow and how the frost,--
All these things the old rhymes ring,
All these things the old tales tell.
Yet they ne'er sang of the beginning,
Of that great unbreathing angel,
Of that soul without a heaven,
Of that gracious Lady Bountiful,
Yet they ne'er told how it came here;
Ne'er said why we read it daily,
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Nor did they even let us guess why
We were left to tell the tale.
Came one day into the wood-land.
Muckintosh, the great and mighty,
Muckintosh, the famous thinker,
He whose brain was all his weapons,
As against his rival's soarings,
High unto the vaulted heavens,
Low down the swarded earth,
Rolled he round his gaze all steely,
And his voice like music prayed:
"Oh, Creator, wondrous Spirit,
Thou who hast for us descended
In the guise of knowledge might,
And our brains with truth o'er-flooded;
In the greatness of thy wisdom,
Knowest not our limitations?
Wondrous thoughts have we, thy servants
Wondrous things we see each day,
Yet we cannot tell our brethren,
Yet we cannot let them know,
Of our doings and our happenings,
Should they parted be from us?
Help us, oh, Thou Wise Creator,
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From the fulness of thy wisdom,
Show us how to spread our knowledge,
And disseminate our actions,
Such as we find worthy, truly.
Quick the answer came from heaven;
Muckintosh, the famous thinker,
Muckintosh, the great and mighty,
Felt a trembling, felt a quaking,
Saw the earth about him open,
Saw the iron from the mountains
Form a quaint and queer machine,
Saw the lead from out the lead mines
Roll into small lettered forms,
Saw the fibres from the flax-plant,
Spread into great sheets of paper,
Saw the ink galls from the green trees
Crushed upon the leaden forms;
Muckintosh, the famous thinker,
Muckintosh, the great and mighty.
Felt a trembling, felt a quaking,
Saw the earth about him open,
Saw the flame and sulphur smoking,
Came the printer's little devil,
Far from distant lands the printer,
Man of unions, man of cuss-words,
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From the depths of sooty blackness;
Came the towel of the printer;
Many things that Muckintosh saw,--
Galleys, type, and leads and rules,
Presses, press-men, quoins and spaces,
Quads and caps and lower cases.
But to Muckintosh bewildered,
All this passed as in a dream,
Till within his nervous hand,
Hand with joy and fear a-quaking,
Muckintosh, the great and mighty,
Muckintosh, the famous thinker,
Held the first of our newspapers.
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    SALAMMBO.   Table of Contents     A CARNIVAL JANGLE.