Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, LA VILLE DU DETROIT, by LEVI BISHOP

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Classic and Contemporary Poetry

LA VILLE DU DETROIT, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Of all the cities of the plain
Last Line: A paradise below.
Subject(s): Home; Life; Love

Of all the cities of the plain,
Beside the river or the main,
How active or how fair;
Of rapid or of sluggish gait;
Give me the City of the Strait.
'Twixt Erie and St. Clair.

I love its budding, gushing spring,
Its ripening summer on the wing,
Its Indian Summer, too;
And e'en its wint'ry -- snowy tides,
Its jingling bells and rapid rides,
Upon "The Avenue."

I love its cool, delicious shades,
Its water founts and promenades,
Its elegant hotels;
Its many men of worth and mind,
Its matrons -- dignified -- refined,
Its many pretty belles.

Its ladies; yes, I love to meet
Those fairy forms and tripping feet;
They come -- they pass me now;
The angels condescend to smile;
I look, enraptured all the while;
I raise my hat and bow.

I like to meet the men I know,
And here and there -- where'er I go,
A living, moving mass;
To shake the hand of young and old;
To tell the news or hear it told;
The "time o' day" to pass.

I like its spires and stately domes;
Its mansions and its princely homes,
Its social life within;
Its shops, its churches and its schools,
And e'en its fops and many fools,
And its incessant din.

I like its avenues so grand;
Yes, even those that Woodward planned:
I love that noble river --
So broad, so stately and so deep,
With that sedate and gentle sweep,
Majestic and forever.

I love to range the busy quay,
To see its thrift on autumn day,
To greet the sailor boy;
To see the boats that crowd the mart,
The graceful ships that come -- depart;
"O, ho! A ship ahoy!"

I love to gaze at Britain's shore,
To stand and contemplate her power,
And offer up the prayer,
That I may live the day to see,
When these our neighbors shall be free,
With a Republic there.

I love its legendary story,
Its pioneer -- historic glory,
For much it has in store;
Its annals stretch much farther back,
Than gloomy days of Pontiac,
Or Cadillac of yore. --

A new world springing into view,
At once the high ambition drew
De Louis Quatorze -- Le Grand;
His missions far the wild explore,
Coureurs des Bois from shore to shore,
Hunt out the unknown land.

But whence and what that perished race,
Whose many footprints on the face
Of western world are found?
That far advance in useful arts?
Those cities with extensive marts,
Now deep beneath the ground?

With our own race was it the same?
Then how, and when, and why, it came?
In barque with scanty freight,
Perhaps it strayed by accident;
Perhaps it fled from banishment,
By way of Behring's Strait.

Thou silent tomb of ages past!
Must thy sealed book forever last,
Nor yield its contents true?
How lived, and how, forgotten, died,
Those myriads in life's rushing tide?
Echo!! Our theme pursue. --

I like its French, with his good cheer,
Its German, with his lager beer,
Its burly Englishman;
Its Yankee -- active, prying, "smart,"
Its warm and generous Irish heart,
Its Scot from Highland clan.

I like its healthy, steady thrift;
No ups or downs or bankrupt shift,
No fancy "bulls" or "bears;"
Its men of wealth, own what they own,
Nor is it small, as may be shown;
We have our millionaires.

I love its rich surrounding plain,
Where happiness and plenty reign,
In cabin life begun;
I love its glittering stars above,
Its mellow moonlight, too; I love
Its gorgeous setting sun.

To Paris or imperial Rome,
I it prefer, for it is home;
Our home, it has a spell:
I range the world, and yet I find
On my return, this home to bind
Me ever here to dwell.

Yes, lovely city of the West!
Here let me live, and die and rest,
When summons comes to go:
It is the place of places all,
Or rich, or proud, or great, or small;
A paradise below.

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