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Old Tubal Cain was a man of might,

In the days when Earth was young;
By the fierce red light of his furnace bright,

The strokes of his hammer rung;
And he lifted high his brawny hand,

O'er the iron glowing clear,
Till the sparks rushed out in scarlet showers,

As he fashioned the sword and spear. And he sang, “Hurrah for my handiwork!

Hurrah for the spear and the sword! Hurrah for the hand that shall wield them well,

For he shall be king and lord.”

To Tubal Cain came many a one,

As he wrought by his roaring fire,
And each one prayed for a strong steel blade

As the crown of his desire;
And he made them weapons sharp and strong,

Till they shouted loud for glee,
And gave him gifts of pearl and gold,

And spoils of the forest free.
And they sang, “Hurrah for Tubal Cain,

Who hath given us strength anew!
Hurrah for the smith! Hurrah for the fire,

And hurrah for the metal true!”

But a sudden change came o'er his heart,

Ere the setting of the sun,
And Tubal Cain was filled with pain

For the evil he had done.
He saw that men, with rage and hate,

Made war upon their kind,
That the land was red with the blood they shed,

In their lust for carnage blind.
And he said, “Alas! that ever I made,

Or that skill of mine should plan,
The spear and the sword for men whose joy

Is to slay their fellow-man!”

And for many a day old Tubal Cain

Sat brooding o'er his woe;
And his hand forebore to smite the ore,

And his furnace smoldered low.
But he rose at last with a cheerful face,

And a bright, courageous eye,
And bared his strong right arm for work,

While the quick flames mounted high.
And he sang, "Hurrah for my handicraft!"

And the red sparks lit the air;
“Not alone for the blade was the bright steel made,

And he fashioned the first plowshare.
And men, taught wisdom from the past,

In friendship joined their hands,
Hung the sword in the hall, the spear on the wall,

And plowed the willing lands;
And sang, “Hurrah for Tubal Cain!

Our stanch good friend is he;
And for the plowshare and the plow,

To him our praise shall be.
But while oppression lifts its head,

Or a tyrant would be lord,
Though we may thank him for the plow,

We ʼll not forget the sword!”

Tu'bal Cain (tū'bal kān), son of Lamech, a teacher of those who work in brass and iron (See Genesis iv, 22); brawn'y (brôn'i), strong; han'di craft (hăn'di kraft) or han'di work (liăn'dî wûrk), that which is made by the use of the hands; crown (kroun), the highest thing; spoils, products, such as various kinds of game; lŭst, longing; car'nage (kär'naj), destruction; före bõre', refrained from; plow'share' (plou'shâr'), that part of the plow which cuts into the ground; tyrant (ti'rant), a cruel ruler.


What do you learn of Tubal Cain from the first stanza?

Read the words of his song. What does this song show that he regarded as the most important thing in the world?

Why did many a one come to him?
Why were they pleased with his services?
How did they reward him?
What change does the third stanza tell you came over him?
What caused this change?
What made him rise “at last with a cheerful face"?
What did he do?
What change did his new invention make in men?

Why was he more of a “stanch good friend” for making the plowshare than for making the sword?

When only is the sword to be remembered?

Explain: (1) “In the days when Earth was young"; (2) "spoils of the forest free"; (3) "plowed the willing lands.



During his march to conquer the world, Alexander the Macedonian came to a strange people in Africa, who dwelt in a remote and secluded corner in peaceful huts, and knew neither war nor conqueror. They led him to the hut of their chief, who received him hospitably, and placed before him golden dates, golden figs, and bread of gold.

“Do you eat gold in this country?” said Alexander.

“I take it for granted,” replied the chief, “that thou wert able to find edible food in thine own country. For what reason, then, art thou come among us?”

Your gold has not tempted me hither,” said Alexander, "but I would willingly become acquainted with your manners and customs."


The chief received him hospitably, and placed before him golden dates,

golden figs, and bread of gold

“So be it,” replied the other; “sojourn among us as long as it pleaseth thee.”

At the close of this conversation two citizens entered as into their court of justice. The plaintiff said: “I bought of this man a piece of land, and as I was making a deep drain through it, I found a treasure. This is not mine, for I only bargained for the land, and not for any treasure that might

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