The Golden City

Weary and sickening of the dull debate
And clang of politics; weary of hate
And sorrow, and calamity, and crime
Of daily history told us in our time;
Weary of wrong that rear'd its hydra head
And hiss'd from all its mouths; dispirited
With rich man's apathy to poor man's hurt,
And poor men's ignorance of their own desert,
And for a moment hopeless of mankind
And that great cause, the nearest to my mind,
Progress — the dream of poet and of sage —
I lean'd back in my chair, and dropp'd the page
Diurnal, fill'd with all the misery,
And fell asleep; if sleeping it could be
When, in their natural sequence in the brain,
Thought follow'd thought, more palpable and plain
Than when I waked; when words took music's voice,
And all my being inly did rejoice.
And what I saw, I sang of at the time,
With ease unparallel'd by waking rhyme,
And to this tune, which, many a day since then,
A haunting music has come back again.

Oh the golden city,
Shining far away! —
With its domes and steeples tall,
And the sunlight over all;
With the waters of a bay
Rippling gently at its feet,
Dotted over with a fleet;
Oh the golden city — so beautiful to see!
It shall open wide its portals,
And I'll tell you if it be
The city of the happy,
The city of the free.

Oh the glorious city,
Shining far away! —
In its boundaries every man
Makes his happiness a plan,
That he studies night and day,
Till he thinks it not alone,
Like his property, his own:
Oh the glorious city — so beautiful to see!
But spreads it round about him,
Till all are bless'd as he;
His mind an inward sunshine,
And bright eternally.

Oh the splendid city,
Gleaming far away! —
Every man by Love possess'd
Has a priest within his breast,
And, whene'er he kneels to pray,
Never breathes a thought unkind
Against men of other mind:
Oh the glorious city — so beautiful to see!
But knows that God Eternal
Will shower all blessings free
On hearts that live to love Him,
And cling to Charity.

Oh the gorgeous city,
Shining far away! —
Where a Competence is bliss,
And each man that lives has this
For his labor of the day;
A labor not too hard,
And a bountiful reward:
Oh the glorious city — so beautiful to see!
Where mighty wheels creative
Revolve incessantly,
And Science gains to cheer him
A daily Victory.

Oh the glorious city,
Shining far away! —
Neither Misery nor Crime,
Nor the wrongs of ancient Time,
Nor the Kingly lust of sway
Ever come within its wall,
To degrade or to enthral:
Oh the glorious city — so beautiful to see!
But Peace and Love, and Knowledge,
The civilizing Three,
Still prove by Good that has been
The B ETTER that may be.

Thus dream'd I, to this rhythm, or something near,
But far more copious, musical, and clear;
And when I waken'd, still my fancy ran
'Twas not all dream; and that large Hopes for man
Were not such idle visions as the wise,
In days like ours, should heedlessly despise:
I thought that Love might be Religion yet,
Not form alone, but soul and substance met;
The guide, the light, the glory of the mind,
Th' electric link uniting all mankind;
That if men loved, and made their Love the Law,
All else would follow: — more than ever saw
Poet or Prophet in the utmost light
Of heavenly glory opening on his sight.
But dream, or no dream, take it as it came:
It gave me hope, — it may give you the same.
And as bright Hopes make the Intention strong,
Take heart with me, and muse upon my song.
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