William Watson

1858-1935 / England

Dedication Of 'The Dream Of Man' To London, My Hostess

City that waitest to be sung,--
For whom no hand
To mighty strains the lyre hath strung
In all this land,
Though mightier theme the mightiest ones
Sang not of old,
The thrice three sisters' godlike sons
With lips of gold,--
Till greater voice thy greatness sing
In loftier times,
Suffer an alien muse to bring
Her votive rhymes.

Yes, alien in thy midst am I,
Not of thy brood;
The nursling of a norland sky
Of rougher mood:
To me, thy tarrying guest, to me,
'Mid thy loud hum,
Strayed visions of the moor or sea
Tormenting come.
Above the thunder of the wheels
That hurry by,
From lapping of lone waves there steals
A far-sent sigh;

And many a dream-reared mountain crest
My feet have trod,
There where thy Minster in the West
Gropes toward God.
Yet, from thy presence if I go,
By woodlands deep
Or ocean-fringes, thou, I know,
Wilt haunt my sleep;
Thy restless tides of life will foam,
Still, in my sight;
Thy imperturbable dark dome
Will crown my night.

O sea of living waves that roll
On golden sands,
Or break on tragic reef and shoal
'Mid fatal lands;
O forest wrought of living leaves,
Some filled with Spring,
Where joy life's festal raiment weaves
And all birds sing,--
Some trampled in the miry ways,
Or whirled along
By fury of tempestuous days,--
Take thou my song!

For thou hast scorned not heretofore
The gifts of rhyme
I dropped, half faltering, at thy door,
City sublime;
And though 'tis true I am but guest
Within thy gate,
Unto thy hands I owe the best
Awards of fate.
Imperial hostess! thanks from me
To thee belong:
O living forest, living sea,
Take thou my song!
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