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A Poem by Sandor Petofi: On A Railroad


On A Railroad.


I am in raptures, happy, gay;
Glorious scenes now greet this eye.
Only the birds ere now could fly,
But men can also fly to day.

Fleet-winged thought or venturous mind,
We’ll in the race with you compete!
Spur on your horse! A splendid heat!
We shall, withal, leave you behind.

Hills and vales, seas, men and trees,
What else I pass God only knows;
My wonder, my amazement grows,
Viewing these misty sceneries.

The sun runs with us, as in dread
Of quick pursuit – a madman’s thought –
By devils, who, if him they caught
Into small fragments then would shred.

He ran and ran and onward fled:
But all in vain! he had to stop,
Tired on a western mountain-top,
Blushing with shame, his face is red.

But in our ride we still proceed,
We weary not, feel no fatigue,
And rolling up league after league
May yet to reach new worlds succeed.

A thousand railroads men shall build
Throughout the earth, till endless chains
Of iron lines, like human veins,
The world with healthy life have filled.

The railroads are the veins of earth;
Culture and progress prosper where
They cause pulsations in the air;
To nations’ greatness they give birth.

Build railroads, more than heretofore;
You ask whence you shall iron take?
The chains and yokes of bondage break;
Let human slavery be no more!

Sándor Petőfi

Sandor Petofi

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