Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, A RETORT, by EMILY LAWLESS

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Classic and Contemporary Poetry

A RETORT, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Not hers your vast imperial mart
Last Line: On a still shore.

Not hers your vast Imperial mart,
Where myriad hopes on fears are hurled;
Where furious rivals meet and part
To woo a world.

Not hers your vast Imperial town,
Your mighty mammoth piles of grain,
Your loaded vessels sweeping down
To glut the main.

Unused, unseen, her rivers flow
From mountain tarn to ocean tide;
Wide vacant leagues the sunbeams show,
The rain-clouds hide.

You swept them vacant! Your decree
Bid all her budding commerce cease;
You drove her from your subject sea
To starve in peace!

Well, be it peace! Resigned they flow,
No laden fleet adown them glides,
But wheeling salmon sometimes show
Their silvered sides.

And sometimes through the long still day
The breeding herons slowly rise,
Lifting grey tranquil wings away
To tranquil skies.

Stud all your shores with prosperous towns!
Blacken your hill-sides, mile on mile!
Redden with bricks your patient downs!
And proudly smile!

A day will come before you guess,
A day when men with clearer light,
Will rue that deed beyond redress;
Will loathe that sight.

And, loathing, fly the hateful place,
And, shuddering, quit the hideous thing
For where unblackened rivers race
And skylarks sing.

For where, remote from smoke and noise,
Old Leisure sits knee-deep in grass;
Where simple days bring simple joys,
And lovers pass.

I see her in those coming days,
Still young, still gay; her unbound hair
Crowned with a crown of starlike rays,
Serenely fair

I see an envied haunt of peace,
Calm and untouched, remote from roar;
Where wearied men may from their burdens cease
On a still shore.

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