Verse > Anthologies > Hamilton Fish Armstrong, ed. > The Book of New York Verse
  PREVIOUSNEXT  
CONTENTS · BIBLIOGRAPHIC RECORD
Hamilton Fish Armstrong, ed.  The Book of New York Verse.  1917.
 
Sea-Gulls of Manhattan
By Henry van Dyke
 
CHILDREN of the elemental mother,
  Born upon some lonely island shore
Where the wrinkled ripples run and whisper,
  Where the crested billows plunge and roar;
Long-winged, tireless roamers and adventurers,        5
  Fearless breasters of the wind and sea,
In the far-off solitary places
  I have seen you floating wild and free!
 
Here the high-built cities rise around you;
  Here the cliffs that tower east and west,        10
Honeycombed with human habitations,
  Have no hiding for the sea-bird’s nest:
Here the river flows begrimed and troubled;
  Here the hurrying, panting vessels fume,
Restless, up and down the watery highway,        15
  While a thousand chimneys vomit gloom.
 
Toil and tumult, conflict and confusion,
  Clank and clamour of the vast machine
Human hands have built for human bondage—
  Yet amid it all you float serene;        20
Circling, soaring, sailing, swooping lightly
  Down to glean your harvest from the wave;
In your heritage of air and water,
  You have kept the freedom Nature gave.
 
Even so the wild-woods of Manhattan        25
  Saw your wheeling flocks of white and grey;
Even so you fluttered, followed, floated,
  Round the Half-Moon creeping up the bay;
Even so your voices creaked and chattered,
  Laughing shrilly o’er the tidal rips,        30
While your black and beady eyes were glistening
  Round the sullen British prison-ships.
 
Children of the elemental mother,
  Fearless floaters ’mid the double blue,
From the crowded boats that cross the ferries        35
  Many a longing heart goes out to you.
Though the cities climb and close around us,
  Something tells us that our souls are free,
While the sea-gulls fly above the harbour,
  While the river flows to meet the sea!        40
 
 
CONTENTS · BIBLIOGRAPHIC RECORD
  PREVIOUSNEXT  
 
Loading
Click here to shop the Bartleby Bookstore.

Shakespeare · Bible · Strunk · Anatomy · Nonfiction · Quotations · Reference · Fiction · Poetry
© 1993–2014 Bartleby.com · [Top 150] · Subjects · Titles · Authors