Newspaper History presents media sourced from a United States newspaper dating back 108 years.

  • Machine Limitations

    From The Birmingham Age Herald, November 22, 1913. By Judd Mortimer Lewis.

    I’d love to sit by this machine
        And slowly touch the yielding keys,
    Till the whole world should see the sheen
        Of rocky river through the trees;
    See the slate cliffs I used to know
        And see the spider-webby span
    Of the bridge I knew long ago
        Away back where my life began.

    I’d love to take the world with me
        Across my white typewriter keys,
    Until the whole wide world should see
        The things I see, feel the same breeze
    Upon its cheek; should go and wade
        With me across the shallow ford,
    And climb the cliff’s face unafraid,
        And drink with me from the old gourd.

    The keys are unresponsive things!
        They never quite interpret right
    The song that’s in one heart and sings
        Its throbbing notes out to the night;
    The song of youth and gladsome days
        The song of blossomed slopes and bees
    The song of sumach bordered ways
        And forest glades and shady trees.

    They never can quite make the world
        See the rare color in the air—
    As if the sunset banners furled
        Had lost their sweetest color there;
    A color red as sweetheart lips!
        A color holding all the gold
    Of truant locks; pink as the tips
        Of little fingers known of old.

    Let my stiff fingers stray across
        The ivory faces as they may,
    I cannot make the branches toss,
        I cannot make the roses sway
    The way I’d like the world to see,
        The way I’d like the world to know,
    Or the whole world would sing with me
        Sweet love songs of the long ago.