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Poem by William Cullen Bryant

Hymn of the City

Not in the solitude 
Alone may man commune with heaven, or see 
Only in savage wood 
And sunny vale, the present Deity; 
Or only hear his voice 
Where the winds whisper and the waves rejoice.

Even here do I behold 
Thy steps, Almighty!--here, amidst the crowd, 
Through the great city rolled, 
With everlasting murmur deep and loud-- 
Choking the ways that wind 
Mongst the proud piles, the work of humankind.

Thy golden sunshine comes 
From the round heaven, and on their dwellings lies, 
And lights their inner homes; 
For them thou fillst with air the unbounded skies, 
And givest them the stores 
Of ocean, and the harvests of its shores.

Thy spirit is around, 
Quickening the restless mass that sweeps along; 
And this eternal sound-- 
Voices and footfalls of the numberless throng-- 
Like the resounding sea, 
Or like the rainy tempest, speaks of thee.

And when the hours of rest 
Come, like a calm upon the mid-sea brine, 
Hushing its billowy breast-- 
The quiet of that moment too is thine; 
It breathes of him who keeps 
The vast and helpless city while it sleeps.

William Cullen Bryant

William Cullen Bryant's other poems:
  1. The Murdered Traveller
  2. A Scene on the Banks of the Hudson
  3. To the Apennines
  4. Ode for an Agricultural Celebration
  5. Innocent Child and Snow-White Flower!

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