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The Ballad Of The Northern Lights
by [?]

There is a mountain round and low that lies by the Polar rim,
And I climbed its height in a whirl of light, and I peered o’er its jagged brim;
And there in a crater deep and vast, ungained, unguessed of men,
The mystery of the Arctic world was flashed into my ken.
For there these poor dim eyes of mine beheld the sight of sights–
That hollow ring was the source and spring of the mystic Northern Lights.

Then I staked that place from crown to base, and I hit the homeward trail.
Ah, God! it was good, though my eyes were blurred,
and I crawled like a sickly snail.
In that vast white world where the silent sky communes with the silent snow,
In hunger and cold and misery I wandered to and fro.
But the Lord took pity on my pain, and He led me to the sea,
And some ice-bound whalers heard my moan, and they fed and sheltered me.
They fed the feeble scarecrow thing that stumbled out of the wild
With the ravaged face of a mask of death and the wandering wits of a child–
A craven, cowering bag of bones that once had been a man.
They tended me and they brought me back to the world, and here I am.

Some say that the Northern Lights are the glare of the Arctic ice and snow;
And some that it’s electricity, and nobody seems to know.
But I’ll tell you now–and if I lie, may my lips be stricken dumb–
It’s a MINE, a mine of the precious stuff that men call radium.
I’ts a million dollars a pound, they say, and there’s tons and tons in sight.
You can see it gleam in a golden stream in the solitudes of night.
And it’s mine, all mine–and say! if you have a hundred plunks to spare,
I’ll let you have the chance of your life, I’ll sell you a quarter share.
You turn it down? Well, I’ll make it ten, seeing as you are my friend.
Nothing doing? Say! don’t be hard–have you got a dollar to lend?
Just a dollar to help me out, I know you’ll treat me white;
I’ll do as much for you some day . . . God bless you, sir; good-night.