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Oh! man may conjure, and art may dream,
And science travail in tedious pain,
To bring forth haply some Titan scheme
For girding oceans with under-chain;


For linking continents; some strange keel
That, scorning the waters will cleave the air;
For bracing mountains with stays of steel,
Or spanning rivers aloft and fair.


And after it all he never is done!
He lays his burden down with a sigh;
Another must finish what is begun,
His night is come and his day gone by.


But a little maid, sitting beside a stream,
In the balm of a summer afternoon,
Watching the glancing minnows gleam,
Humming a rhyme to a low love-tune--


Just one little maid, without rule or plan,
Her feet a-lave, and her hair wind-curled,
Will build in an hour, an arc whose span
Is high as the heavens, and wide as the world!