With the lifting of the curtain,
Distance, dim, but grimly certain,
Breaks my vision of a city, populous and great,
To my senses, sorrow-sated,
Senses sad and satiated, Faintly comes the thunder peal of treasured wrong and hate
By awakened people and the iron arm of Fate.
Pallid forms, by famine shrunken,
Helots, harlots, ribald, drunken,
Wine and blood-wet, onward thro' the torchlit highways sweep,
Through a city disunited,
Through a city flame ignited,
To the sound of song and trumpet and the cannon's deep
Through the gloom,
While the fire fiends madly leaps from tower to temple steep.
Reinforced from slum and alley,
By this wild and weird reveille,
Pours the army of the people where their banners drape,
In a city barricaded,
In a city fusilladed
By the deadly rifle and the Gatling and the grape,
Lanes and alleys filthy, and the foul abode of rape.
Tyrants flee and cowards falter-,
For a lamp-post and a halter