On flint and steel, or twirling wood
Men were dependent ages long
The safety match none understood
It to the present doth belong.
We are amazed. Can it be true
Only one hundred years ago
The steel and flint were still in view,
That none the safety match did know?
A little thing! Yet what relief
The safety mach as brought!
We fancy can the tears and grief
Of young and old who knew it not.
Man has been long upon the earth
And his inventions countless are
Keenly alive to things of worth
That lessen toil, that dangers bar.
Man long had known the use of fire,
And to control its great might sought
Great diligence it did require
To see that it was quenched by naught
It was not easy to retain
When once the fire had died out
And oft men must have worked in vain
Conditions all his toil could flout.