THE BIRTH OF THE LAND
For a thousand years the Devil crouched
On the white hot flags of hell:
For a thousand years the Devil cursed
The imps that had chained him well;
For a thousand years the Devil sulked
And planned with his hell-trained brain
Of the things he’d do, when his term was thru,
And freed from the blistering chain.
He’d even the score with the men of earth,
And give them back pain for pain,
For all of the days he had felt the blaze
And the sear of the galling chain.
And it came to pass when his time was up
And hell’s gates were opened wide
That all hell rang, and the clinkered imps sang
When the Devil passed Outside.
“I have served my time,” the Devil said
As he halted by heaven’s gate;
I have sweated in hell for a thousand years
And each year was a year of hate.
I have framed my plans for a thousand years,
I have worked out the details well
Now I’d have a place near the human race
As a sort of a prep school for hell.
The sons of men, on the earth below
Have scarcely a chance to sin,
Churched, belled and gowned, they mope around
By precept, all sealed in;
There is never a sin for lust of flesh
Nor sin for a man struck blow,
And the red blood crime of the olden time
Has passed with the long ago.
Hell’s motley crew is scarce worth coal
When they come to the thing called death;
They squat on the coals with the real damned souls
And listen with bated breath,
To the tales of the earth, when the world was new,
When a man had to fight for his own,
When he took his wife at the risk of his life
And killed for a half-baked bone.
Now I’d build a place where a man might sin
For the sake of his own desires;
Make his the cause, and his the laws,
And the penalty, mine own fires;
Hast a place on earth to breed such men
Each for his own deeds blamed?
If you’ll give me a place, I’ll breed a race
That hell may not be shamed.
The God King sighed as he searched the plat
And the map of the earth below;
I have given a place for every race
In the belt from snow to snow.
I have given a home to each bird and beast
For even the fox has its hole,
I have given all land to the sons of man
And I’ve builded a home for his soul.
In the seven days that I toiled below
When I builded the seas and lands,
There was much to do, and I didn’t get thru
And one place unfinished stands.
It’s the part of my work that I really regret,
For I know it’s the worst of the lot,
It’s known down below as The Land of the Snow,
Or, The Country that God forgot.
It stands apart by the Northern Pole,
Unfinished, forgotten, alone,
And no man’s hand has won this land,
And no man calls it his own.
The country is made up of odds and ends,
Unfinished mountain, and swamp and lake,
Stuff that couldn’t be used when the earth was fused;
If you want it, it’s yours to take.