Verse > Anthologies > Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. > Poems of Places > America
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Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed.  Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
America: Vols. XXV–XXIX.  1876–79.
 
Middle States: New York, the City, N. Y.
Broadway
William Allen Butler (1825–1902)
 
ON this day of brightest dawning,
Underneath each spreading awning,
  Sheltered from the sun’s fierce ray,
Come, and let us saunter gayly
With the crowd whose footsteps, daily,        5
  Wear the sidewalks of Broadway.
 
Leave the proof-sheets and the printer
Till the duller days of winter,
  Till some dark December day;
Better than your lucubrations        10
Are the vivid inspirations
  You can gather in Broadway!
 
Tell me not, in half-derision,
Of your Boulevards Parisian,
  With their brilliant broad pavés,        15
Still for us the best is nearest,
And the last love is the dearest,
  And the Queen of Streets—Broadway!
 
Here, beneath bewitching bonnets,
Sparkle eyes to kindle sonnets,        20
  Charms, each worth a lyric lay;
Ah! what bright, untold romances
Linger in the radiant glances
  Of the beauties of Broadway!
 
All the fairer, that so fleeting        25
Is the momentary meeting,
  That our footsteps may not stay;
While, each passing form replacing,
Swift the waves of life are chasing
  Down the channels of Broadway!        30
 
Motley as the masqueraders
Are the jostling promenaders,
  In their varied, strange display;
Here an instant, only, blending,
Whither are their footsteps tending        35
  As they hasten through Broadway?
 
Some to garrets and to cellars,
Crowded with unhappy dwellers;
  Some to mansions, rich and gay,
Where the evening’s mirth and pleasure        40
Shall be fuller, in their measure,
  Than the turmoil of Broadway!
 
Yet were once our mortal vision
Blest with quicker intuition,
  We should shudder with dismay        45
To behold what shapes are haunting
Some, who seem most gayly flaunting
  On the sidewalks of Broadway!
 
For, beside the beggar cheerless,
And the maiden gay and fearless,        50
  And the old man worn and gray,
Swift and viewless, waiting never,
Still the Fates are gliding ever,
  Stern and silent, through Broadway!
 
 
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