The long long shift

I, the primitive toiler, half naked and grimed to the eyes,

Sweating it deep in their ditches, swining it stark in their styes;

Hurling down forests before me, spanning tumultuous streams;

Down in the ditch building o’er me palaces fairer than dreams;

Boring the rock to the ore-bed, driving the road through the fen,

Resolute, dumb, uncomplaining, a man in a world of men.

Master, I’ve filled my contract, wrought in Thy many lands;

Not by my sins wilt Thou judge me, but by the work of my hands.

Master, I’ve done Thy bidding, and the light is low in the west,

And the long long shift is over … Master, I’ve earned it — Rest.

Robert W. Service

The long long shift

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