Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE INLAND CITY, by EDMUND CLARENCE STEDMAN

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Classic and Contemporary Poetry

THE INLAND CITY, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Guarded by circling streams and wooded mountains
Last Line: Ours is the fairest one.
Subject(s): Norwich, Connecticut

GUARDED by circling streams and wooded mountains,
Like sentinels round a queen,
Dotted with groves and musical with fountains,
The city lies serene.

Not far away the Atlantic tide diverges,
And, up the southern shore
Of gray New England, rolls in shortened surges,
That murmur evermore.

The fairy city! not for frowning castle
Do I extol her name,
Not for the gardens and the domes palatial
Of oriental fame;

Yet if there be one man who will not rally,
One man, who sayeth not
That of all cities in the Eastern valley
Ours is the fairest spot;

Then let him roam beneath those elms gigantic,
Or idly wander where
Shetucket flows meandering, where Yantic
Leaps through the cloven air;

Gleaming from rock to rock with sunlit motion,
Then slumbering in the cove;
So sinks the soul, from Passion's wild devotion,
To the deep calm of Love.

And journey with me to the village olden,
Among whose devious ways
Are mossy mansions, rich with legends golden
Of early forest days;

Elysian time! when, by the rippling water,
Or in the woodland groves,
The Indian warrior and the Sachem's daughter
Whispered their artless loves;

Legends of fords, where Uncas made his transit,
Fierce for the border war,
And drove all day the alien Narragansett
Back to his haunts afar;

Tales of the after-time, when scant and humble
Grew the Mohegan band,
And Tracy, Griswold, Huntington, and Trumbull
Were judges in the land.

So let the caviller feast on old tradition,
And then at sunset climb
Up yon green hill, where on his broadened vision
May burst the view sublime!

The city spires, with stately power impelling
The soul to look above,
And peaceful homes, in many a rural dwelling,
Lit up with flames of love; --

And then confess, nor longer idly dally,
While sinks the lingering sun,
That of all cities in the Eastern valley
Ours is the fairest one.

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