Verse > Anthologies > Samuel Kettell, ed. > Specimens of American Poetry
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Samuel Kettell, ed.  Specimens of American Poetry.  1829.
 
The Ruined City
By F. S. Eckhard
 
THE DAYS of old, though time has rest
The dazzling splendor which they cast;
Yet many a remnant still is left
To shadow forth the past.
The warlike deed, the classic page,        5
The lyric torrent strong and free,
Are lingering o’er the gloom of age,
Like moonlight on the sea.
 
A thousand years have roll’d along,
And blasted empires in their pride;        10
And witness’d scenes of crime and wrong,
Till men by nations died.
A thousand summer suns have shone
Till earth grew bright beneath their sway,
Since thou, untenanted, and lone,        15
Wert render’d to decay.
 
The moss tuft, and the ivy wreath,
For ages clad thy fallen mould,
And gladden’d in the spring’s soft breath;
But they grew wan and old.        20
Now, desolation hath denied
That even these shall veil thy gloom:
And nature’s mantling beauty died
In token of thy doom.
 
Alas, for the far years, when clad        25
With the bright vesture of thy prime,
The proud towers made each wanderer glad,
Who hail’d thy sunny clime.
Alas, for the fond hope, and dream,
And all that won thy children’s trust,        30
God cursed—and none may now redeem,
Pale city of the dust!
 
How the dim visions throng the soul,
When twilight broods upon thy waste;
The clouds of wo from o’er thee roll,        35
Thy glory seems replaced.
The stir of life is brightening round,
Thy structures swell upon the eye,
And mirth and revelry resound
In triumph to the sky.        40
 
But a stern moral may be read,
By those who view thy lonely gloom:
Oblivion’s pall alike is spread
O’er slave, and lordly tomb.
The sad, the gay, the old, and young,        45
The warrior’s strength, and beauty’s glow,
Resolved to that from which they sprung
Compose the dust below.
 
 
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