Sing, Poet, ’tis a merry world;
That cottage smoke is rolled and curled
In sport, that every moss
Is happy, every inch of soil;—
Before me runs a road of toil
With my grave cut across.
Sing, trailing showers and breezy downs —
I know the tragic hearts of towns.
City! I am true son of thine;
Ne’er dwelt I where great mornings shine
Around the bleating pens;
Ne’er by the rivulets I strayed,
And ne’er upon my childhood weighed
The silence of the glens.
Instead of shores where ocean beats,
I hear the ebb and flow of streets. …
Afar, one summer, I was borne;
Through golden vapours of the morn,
I heard the hills of sheep:
I trod with a wild ecstasy
The bright fringe of the living sea:
And on a ruined keep
I sat, and watched an endless plain
Blacken beneath the gloom of rain.
O fair the lightly sprinkled waste,
O’er which a laughing shower has raced!
O fair the April shoots!
O fair the woods on summer days,
While a blue hyacinthine haze
Is dreaming round the roots!
In thee, O city! I discern
Another beauty, sad and stern.
Draw thy fierce streams of blinding ore,
Smite on a thousand anvils, roar
Down to the harbour-bars;
Smoulder in smoky sunsets, flare
On rainy nights, while street and square
Lie empty to the stars.
From terrace proud to alley base,
I know thee as my mother’s face.
When sunset bathes thee in his gold,
In wreaths of bronze thy sides are rolled,
Thy smoke is dusty fire;
And from the glory round thee poured,
A sunbeam like an angel’s sword
Shivers upon a spire.
Thus have I watched thee, Terror! Dream!
While the blue Night crept up the stream…
But all these sights and sounds are strange;
Then wherefore from thee should I range?
Thou hast my kith and kin;
My childhood, youth, and manhood brave;
Thou hast that unforgotten grave
Within thy central din.
A sacredness of love and death
Dwells in thy noise and smoky breath.