Verse > Anthologies > Hamilton Fish Armstrong, ed. > The Book of New York Verse
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Hamilton Fish Armstrong, ed.  The Book of New York Verse.  1917.
 
The City
By Marion Couthouy Smith
 
BESIDE the shining water, serene she sits in state,
Fronting the noonday splendour, keeping the New World’s gate;
Mother of hope and promise, city of light and dream,
Smiling in beauty’s triumph, changed with each changing gleam;
Beside the shining water, she draws her veil of mist        5
Over her flashing jewels, opal and amethyst.
 
In twilight’s purple vapour, in morning’s rain of gold,
Forever round her island walls the glittering tides are rolled;
And the great sea’s utmost secret, the river’s tenderer song,
Sound through her mingled voices the changeful year along.        10
Like doves to her bosom flocking, the proud swift ships come home,
Tracking her glassy waters with arabesques of foam;
And to her heart’s strong throbbing a thousand hearts keep time,
Where far across the bay’s clear stretch is borne her silver chime.
Indrawn the sullen shadows from lapping waters creep,        15
Cold, through the teeming channels where her life’s stream runs deep;
Indrawn, her breath comes faintly, in broken sob and moan,
Slow, through her up-tossed thunders—a secret monotone
Sounding from dark recesses the voice of want and wrong,
Till her mad, sweet, varied music seems but a syren song;        20
And all her noonday glories, her midnight crown of flame,
Seem but the false regalia of anguish and of shame;
While o’er that aching tumult she draws her veil of mist,
With the mocking gleam of jewels, opal and amethyst.
 
Still by the shining water, serene she sits in state,        25
Fronting the noonday splendour, keeping the New World’s gate;
And still her sun-wrought signals flash from her lifted spires,
And still beneath the lights of heaven she burns her midnight fires,
And the proud, swift ships flock homeward, and hope-drawn hearts beat time,
As far across the bay’s clear stretch is borne her silver chime.        30
 
 
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