Verse > Anthologies > William Wilfred Campbell, ed. > The Oxford Book of Canadian Verse
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William Wilfred Campbell, comp.  The Oxford Book of Canadian Verse.  1913.
 
Urbs Condita
By W. Stewart Wallace
 
THE CITY like an exhalation rose,
Stone upon stone, from misty morn till purple even-close …
A-many many chimneys towering high belched forth their flaming smoke
From fierce-flaught forges deep within the old earth’s hollow womb,
Whereinto men thrust faces, blazing-bright, to stoke,        5
And then drew back in gloom:
Forges whence came white and hissing iron gauds
That, plunged in water, writhed and sizzled vapid steam;
Whereon the loud-voiced hammers straightly beat their iron lauds,
And sparks flew fast, and died the white-hot gleam …        10
In wide-roofed, barn-like buildings men trucked bales of lade
With multitudinous echoing, bumped them down, and clattered back
Incessantly. Briareus plied his trade.
 
Outside in airy, sunbright streets no lack
Of stalwart stallions hauled their creaking loads,        15
Stressed harness, laboured bulging thews, struck fire from flinty roads.
Men shouted, whips swirled out and cracked, on every labouring dray
Rails jangled clangingly, or wood-beams bumped, or heavy sandstone lay …
And high in air stone-masses swung out to their own place,
And brown hands gripped and guided them as down they came apace;        20
Mortared up, and set four-square to all the winds that blew,
And girded down by girders strong, and rivet, bolt, and screw,
They proudly topped the steepy walls, and climbed the fiery sky,
Till passionless they set their brows amid the stars on high.
 
 
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