Verse > Anthologies > Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. > An American Anthology, 1787–1900
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Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. (1833–1908).  An American Anthology, 1787–1900.  1900.
 
1192. The Aztec City
 
By Eugene Fitch Ware (“Ironquill”)
 
 
THERE is a clouded city, gone to rest
        Beyond the crest
Where cordilleras mar the mystic west.
 
There suns unheeded rise and re-arise;
        And in the skies        5
The harvest moon unnoticed lives and dies.
 
And yet this clouded city has no night—
        Volcanic light
Compels eternal noontide, redly bright.
 
A thousand wells, whence cooling waters came,        10
        No more the same,
Now send aloft a thousand jets of flame.
 
This clouded city is enchanting fair,
        For rich and rare
From sculptured frieze the gilded griffins stare.        15
 
With level look—with loving, hopeful face,
        Fixed upon space,
Stand caryatides of unknown race,
 
And colonnades of dark green serpentine,
        Of strange design,        20
Carved on whose shafts queer alphabets combine.
 
And there are lofty temples, rich and great,
        And at the gate,
Carved in obsidian, the lions wait.
 
And from triumphant arches, looking down        25
        Upon the town,
In porphyry, sad, unknown statesmen frown.
 
And there are palace homes, and stately walls,
        And open halls
Where fountains are, with voiceless water-falls.        30
 
The ruddy fire incessantly illumes
        Temples and tombs,
And in its blaze the stone-wrought cactus blooms.
 
From clouds congealed the mercury distils,
        And, forming rills,        35
Adown the streets in double streamlet trills.
 
As rains from clouds, that summer skies eclipse,
        From turret-tips
And spire and porch the mobile metal drips.
 
No one that visited this fiery hive        40
        Ever alive
Came out but me—I, I alone, survive.
 

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