Above and Below

Mighty river, oh, mighty river,
Rolling in ebb and flow for ever,
Through the city so vast and old;
Through massive bridges—by domes and spires,
Crowned with the smoke of a myriad fires;—
City of majesty, power, and gold;—
Thou lovest to float on thy waters dull
The white-winged fleets so beautiful,
And the lordly steamers speeding along,
Wind-defying, and swift and strong;
Thou bearest them all on thy motherly breast,
Laden with riches, at Trade's behest—
Bounteous Trade, whose wine and corn
Stock the garner and fill the horn,
Who gives us Luxury, Joy, and Pleasure,
Stintless, sumless, out of measure—
Thou art a rich and a mighty river,
Rolling in ebb and flow for ever.

Doleful river, oh, doleful river,
Pale on thy breast the moonbeams quiver,
Through the city so drear and cold—
City of sorrows hard to bear,
Of guilt, injustice, and despair—
City of miseries untold;
Thou hidest below, in thy treacherous waters,
The death-cold forms of Beauty's daughters;
The corses pale of the young and sad—
Of the old whom sorrow has goaded mad—
Mothers of babes that cannot know
The sires that left them to their woe—
Women forlorn, and men that run
The race of passion, and die undone;
Thou takest them all in thy careless wave,
Thou givest them all a ready grave;
Thou art a black and a doleful river,
Rolling in ebb and flow for ever.

In ebb and flow for ever and ever—
So rolls the world, thou murky river,
So rolls the tide, above and below:
Above, the rower impels his boat;
Below, with the current the dead men float;—
The waves may smile in the sunny glow,
While above, in the glitter, and pomp, and glare,
The flags of the vessels flap the air;
But below in the silent under-tide,
The waters vomit the wretch that died:
Above, the sound of the music swells,
From the passing ship, from the city bells;
From below there cometh a gurgling breath,
As the desperate diver yields to death:
Above and below the waters go,
Bearing their burden of Joy or Wo;
Rolling along, thou mighty river,
In ebb and flow for ever and ever.
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