Under a spreading chestnut-tree
the village smithy stands.
The smith, a mighty man is he,
with large and sinewy hands,
and the muscles of his brawny arms
are strong as iron bands.
His hair is crisp, and black, and long,
his face is like the tan.
His brow is wet with honest sweat,
He earns whate’er he can
and looks the whole world in the face
for he owes not any man.
Week in, week out, from morn till night,
you can hear his bellows blow.
You can hear him swing his heavy sledge
with measured beat and slow.
Like a sexton ringing the village bell
when the evening sun is low.
And the children coming home from school
look in at the open door.
They love to see the flaming forge
and hear the bellows roar.
and catch the burning sparks that fly
like chaff from a threshing-floor.
He goes on Sunday to the church,
and sits among his boys.
He hears the parson pray and preach,
he hears his daughter’s voice,
singing in the village choir,
and it makes his heart rejoice.
It sounds to him like her mother’s voice,
singing in Paradise.
He needs must think of her once more,
how in the grave she lies,
and with his hard, rough hand
he wipes a tear out of his eyes.
onward through life he goes
each morning sees some task begin
each evening sees it close.
Something attemped, something done,
has earned a night’s repose.
Thanks, thanks to thee, my worthy friend,
for the lesson thou hast taught.
Thus at the flaming forge of life,
our fortunes must be wrought.
Thus on it’s sounding anvil shaped
each burning deed and thought.