Four Sonnets by Jean Ingelow.


Like coral insects multitudinous1
The minutes are whereof our life is made.2
They build it up as in the deep’s blue shade3
It grows, it comes to light, and then, and thus4
For both there is an end. The populous5
Sea-blossoms close, our minutes that have paid6
Life’s debt of work are spent ;  the work is laid7
Before their feet that shall come after us.8
We may not stay to watch if it will speed,9
The bard if on some luter’s string his song10
Live sweetly yet ; the hero if his star11
Doth shine. Work is its own best earthly meed,12
Else have we none more than the sea-born throng13
Who wrought those marvellous isles that bloom afar.14