Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, SUTTER'S FORT, SACRAMENTO, by LUCIUS HARWOOD FOOTE

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Classic and Contemporary Poetry

First Line: I stood by the old fort's crumbling wall
Last Line: Dust and ashes and nothing more!
Subject(s): California - Gold Discoveries; Sutter's Fort, California; Gold Rush; Forty-niners

I stood by the old fort's crumbling wall,
On the eastern edge of the town:
The sun through clefts in the ruined hall,
Flecked with its light the rafters brown.

Charmed by the magic spell of the place,
The present vanished, the past returned;
While rampart and fortress filled the space,
And yonder the Indian camp-fires burned.

Around me were waifs from every clime,
Blown by the fickle winds of chance—
Knight errants, ready at any time,
For any cause, to couch a lance.

The staunch old Captain with courtly grace,
Owner of countless leagues of land,
Benignly governed the motley race,
Dispensing favors with open hand....

Only a moment the vision came;
Where tower and rampart stood before
Where flushed the night with the camp's red flame—
Dust and ashes and nothing more!

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