Nonfiction > E.C. Stedman & E.M. Hutchinson, eds. > A Library of American Literature > 1861–1889
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Stedman and Hutchinson, comps.  A Library of American Literature:
An Anthology in Eleven Volumes.  1891.
Vols. IX–XI: Literature of the Republic, Part IV., 1861–1889
 
The Morning Street
By John James Piatt (1835–1917)
 
ALONE I walk the morning street,
Filled with the silence vague and sweet:
All seems as strange, as still, as dead,
As if unnumbered years had fled,
Letting the noisy Babel lie        5
Breathless and dumb against the sky.
The light wind walks with me, alone
Where the hot day, flame-like, was blown;
Where the wheels roared, the dust was beat:—
The dew is in the morning street.        10
 
Where are the restless throngs that pour
Along this mighty corridor
While the noon shines?—the hurrying crowd
Whose footsteps make the city loud?—
The myriad faces, hearts that beat        15
No more in the deserted street?
Those footsteps, in their dreaming maze,
Cross thresholds of forgotten days;
Those faces brighten from the years
In rising suns long set in tears;        20
Those hearts—far in the Past they beat,
Unheard within the morning street.
 
Some city of the world’s gray prime,
Lost in some desert far from Time,
Where noiseless ages, gliding through,        25
Have only sifted sand and dew,—
Yet a mysterious hand of man
Lying on all the haunted plan,
The passions of the human heart
Quickening the marble breast of Art,—        30
Were not more strange, to one who first
Upon its ghostly silence burst,
Than this vast quiet, where the tide
Of Life, upheaved on either side,
Hangs trembling, ready soon to beat        35
With human waves the morning street.
 
Ay, soon the glowing morning flood
Breaks through the charmèd solitude:
This silent stone, to music won,
Shall murmur to the rising sun;        40
The busy place, in dust and heat,
Shall roar with wheels and swarm with feet;—
The Arachne-threads of Purpose stream,
Unseen, within the morning gleam;
The life shall move, the death be plain;        45
The bridal throng, the funeral train,
Together, face to face, shall meet
And pass, within the morning street.
 
 
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