Cicely Fox Smith
Songs Of The City - Poem by Cicely Fox Smith
Hushed is the midnight rush and roar,
At rest the pulse that all day long
Throbbed onward like the endless song
Of waves upon a rockbound shore.
Another day is with the past:
Its joy and sorrow, work and play,
Have followed on the accustomed way,
And the great city sleeps at last.
Far off across the silent town,
The first faint flush of golden green
Across the housetops dimly seen,
Drives the dun vapours flickering down.
Sleep on, great city, rest thy fill;
Forget thy toil in soothing dreams
Of dewy uplands, rippling streams,
Broad, fertile plain and sun-kissed hill.
Now that the long wild round is run,
Before the great bell's thundering bass,
Slumber in peace a little space
Betwixt the shadow and the sun.
Amid the hurrying city's strife
How strange to think that, long ago,
The farmer watched his harvest grow
Where now the long street teems with life!
There where a lofty warehouse towers,
Mayhap, a peaceful homestead rose,
With barn and haystack girded close,
'Mid fertile meadows rich in flowers.
Yet, mighty city, mourn not thou
Thy rustic glories, long since flown;
Thou hast a glamour of thine own,
Tho' all thy flowers are faded now.
A nobler lot is thine - to breed
The soldier, singer, statesman, sage,
The guardians in a future age
Of England in her hour of need.
Therefore, regret not days gone by,
Nor suffer grief thy head to bow:
A nobler garland binds thy brow
Than all the flowers of Arcady.
For o-er the roofs the young moon glows,
Pale gold amid the rising mist,
By the last gleam of sunset kissed
With fading hues of faintest rose.
Along the street, forlornly grey,
The gas lamps show a feeble spark,
Bright isles of light amid the dark
Dim close of this October day.
Ah, strange, sad, solemn twilight time -
Vague sorrow brooding over all
The great town 'neath the murky pall,
With all her splendour, all her crime!
Dark is the West where sank the sun:
The thunder from a hundred towers,
Now chiming forth the fleeting hours,
Proclaims aloud - the day is done.
The sky flames high with lurid light:
The darkness reigns on earth no more,
The twilight mystery fades before
The radiance of the city night.
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