A collection of short stories in Robert Heinlein's Future History set. The title story is about Rhysling, a spacer who becomes blind by exposure to radiation while saving his ship from meltdown, and thenceforth becomes a singing bard (famous for his song "The Green Hills of Earth", which pops up in a many a heinlein novel), hitching rides through the spaceways.

Words: Rhysling, as told to Robert Heinlein
Tune: Unknown, though it happens to work with Gilligan's Island
The arching sky is calling
Spacemen back to their trade.
All hands! Stand by! Free falling!
And the lights below us fade.

Out ride the sons of Terra.
Far drives the thundering jet.
Up leaps the race of earthmen,
Out far, and onward yet--

We pray for one last landing
On the globe that gave us birth;
Let us rest our eyes on the fleecy skies
And the cool green hills of Earth.

We rot in the molds of Venus.
We retch at her tainted breath.
Foul are her flooded jungles,
Crawling with unclean death.

We've tried each spinning space mote
And reckoned its true worth;
Take us back again to the homes of men
On the cool green hills of Earth.

The harsh bright soil of Luna,
Silent and dead as the grave,
Holds not the souls of Earthmen
Whose lives for Earth's they gave.

The rust-red Martian deserts,
Her lonely wandering sands,
Are naught but alien visions
To who on her surface stands.

Let the sweet fresh breezes heal me,
As they rove around the girth
Of our lovely mother planet
And the cool green hills of Earth.

The stars that shine around us
Are torches on the road
Ebon, extending forever,
And with great peril sowed.

But we must travel onward,
Outward, then outward again,
Exploring the uttermost reaches
Far beyond the realm of men.

My heart turns home in longing
Across the voids between,
To know beyond the spaceship
The hills of Earth are green.

Across the seas of darkness,
The good green Earth is bright;
Oh, star that was my homeland,
Shine down on me tonight.

We pray for one last landing
On the globe that gave us birth;
Let us rest our eyes on the fleecy skies
And the cool green hills of Earth.

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