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Classic and Contemporary Poetry

THE BROOKLYN BRIDGE [MAY 24, 1883], by                     Poet's Biography
First Line: A granite cliff on either shore
Last Line: And winds the sea-clouds bear!
Alternate Author Name(s): Dean
Subject(s): Bridges; Brooklyn Bridge

A GRANITE cliff on either shore,
A highway poised in air;
Above, the wheels of traffic roar,
Below, the fleets sail fair; --
And in and out forevermore,
The surging tides of ocean pour,
And past the towers the white gulls soar,
And winds the sea-clouds bear.
O peerless this majestic street,
This road that leaps the brine!
Upon its heights twin cities meet,
And throng its grand incline, --
To east, to west, with swiftest feet,
Though ice may crash and billows beat,
Though blinding fogs the wave may greet
Or golden summer shine.
Sail up the Bay with morning's beam,
Or rocky Hellgate by, --
Its columns rise, its cables gleam,
Great tents athwart the sky!
And lone it looms, august, supreme,
When, with the splendor of a dream,
Its blazing cressets gild the stream
Till evening shadows fly.
By Nile stand proud the pyramids,
But they were for the dead;
The awful gloom that joy forbids,
The mourners' silent tread,
The crypt, the coffin's stony lids, --
Sad as a soul the maze that thrids
Of dark Amenti, ere it rids
Its way of judgment dread.
This glorious arch, these climbing towers,
Are all for life and cheer!
Part of the New World's nobler dowers;
Hint of millennial year
That comes apace, though evil lowers, --
When loftier aims and larger powers
Will mould and deck this earth of ours,
And heaven at length bring near!
Unmoved its cliffs shall crown the shore;
Its arch the chasm dare;
Its network hang, the blue before,
As gossamer in air;
While in and out forevermore,
The surging tides of ocean pour,
And past its towers the white gulls soar
And winds the sea-clouds bear!

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