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.
 
To Fifth Avenue
(extract from The Baroness of New York)
By Joaquin Miller
 
O BEAUTIFUL, long, loved Avenue!
So faithless to truth, and yet so true!
The camp in battle with the shouts in air,
The neighing of steeds and the trumpet’s blare!
Thou iron-faced sphynx; thy stedfast eyes        5
Encompass all seas. Thy hands likewise
Lay hold on the peaks. The land and the sea
Make tribute alike, and the mystery
Of time it is thine—Say, what art thou
But the scroll of the Past rolled into the Now?        10
 
O throbbing and pulsing proud Avenue!
Thou generous robber! Thou more than Tyre!
Thou mistress of Pirates! Thou heart of fire!
Thou heart of the world’s heart, pulsing to
The bald, white poles. So old; so new.        15
So nude, get garmented past desire.
Thou tall splendid woman, I bend to thee;
I love thy majesty, mystery;
Thy touches of sanctity, touches of taint,
So grand as a sinner, so good as a saint.        20
 
Thou heaven of lights! I stood at night
Far down by a spire where the stars shot through
Where commerce throbs strong as a burly sea swell,
And searched the North Star, O Avenue!
If the road up to God were thy long lane of light!—        25
I lifted my face, looking upward and far
By the path of the Bear, underneath the North Star
Beyond the gaslights where the falling stars spin,
And lo! no man can tell, guess he ever so well,
Where thy gaslights leave off or the starlights begin.        30
 
 
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