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.
 
Weehawken, 1820
By Fitz-Greene Halleck
 
WEEHAWKEN!—In thy mountain scenery yet,
  All we adore of Nature, in her wild
And frolic hour of infancy, is met;
  And never has a summer’s morning smiled
Upon a lovelier scene, than the full eye        5
Of the enthusiast revels on—when high
 
Amid thy forest solitudes, he climbs
  O’er crags, that proudly tower above the deep,
And knows that sense of danger which sublimes
  The breathless moment—when his daring step        10
Is on the verge of the cliff, and he can hear
The low dash of the wave with startled ear—
 
Like the death-music of his coming doom,
  And clings to the green turf with desperate force,
As the heart clings to life; and when resume        15
  The currents in his veins their wonted course,
There lingers a deep feeling—like the moan
Of wearied ocean, when the storm is gone.
 
In such an hour he turns, and on his view,
  Ocean and earth and heaven burst before him;        20
Clouds slumbering at his feet, and the clear blue
  Of summer’s sky in beauty bending o’er him—
The city bright below; and far away,
Sparkling in golden light, his own romantic bay
 
Tall spire, and glittering roof, and battlement,        25
  And banners floating in the sunny air;
And white sails o’er the calm blue waters bent,
  Green isle, and circling shore, are blended there
In wild reality. When life is old,
And many a scene forgot, the heart will hold        30
 
Its memory of this; nor lives there one
  Whose infant breath was drawn, or boyhood’s days
Of happiness were passed beneath that sun,
  That in his manhood’s prime can calmly gaze
Upon that bay, or on that mountain stand,        35
Nor feel the prouder of his native land.
 
 
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