Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, BROADWAY, by WILLIAM ALLEN BUTLER



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BROADWAY, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: On this day of brightest dawning
Last Line: Stern and silent, through broadway!
Subject(s): Broadway, New York City


ON this day of brightest dawning,
Underneath each spreading awning,
Sheltered from the sun's fierce ray,
Come, and let us saunter gayly
With the crowd whose footsteps, daily,
Wear the sidewalks of Broadway.

Leave the proof-sheets and the printer
Till the duller days of winter,
Till some dark December day;
Better than your lucubrations
Are the vivid inspirations
You can gather in Broadway!

Tell me not, in half-derision,
Of your Boulevards Parisian,
With their brilliant broad pavés,
Still for us the best is nearest,
And the last love is the dearest,
And the Queen of Streets—Broadway!

Here, beneath bewitching bonnets,
Sparkle eyes to kindle sonnets,
Charms, each worth a lyric lay;
Ah! what bright, untold romances
Linger in the radiant glances
Of the beauties of Broadway!

All the fairer, that so fleeting
Is the momentary meeting,
That our footsteps may not stay;
While, each passing form replacing,
Swift the waves of life are chasing
Down the channels of Broadway!

Motley as the masqueraders
Are the jostling promenaders,
In their varied, strange display;
Here an instant, only, blending,
Whither are their footsteps tending
As they hasten through Broadway?

Some to garrets and to cellars,
Crowded with unhappy dwellers;
Some to mansions, rich and gay,
Where the evening's mirth and pleasure
Shall be fuller, in their measure,
Than the turmoil of Broadway!

Yet were once our mortal vision
Blest with quicker intuition,
We should shudder with dismay
To behold what shapes are haunting
Some, who seem most gayly flaunting,
On the sidewalks of Broadway!

For, beside the beggar cheerless,
And the maiden gay and fearless,
And the old man worn and gray,
Swift and viewless, waiting never,
Still the Fates are gliding ever,
Stern and silent, through Broadway!





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