Verse > Anthologies > Hamilton Fish Armstrong, ed. > The Book of New York Verse
Hamilton Fish Armstrong, ed.  The Book of New York Verse.  1917.
Bartholdi’s Pharos
By George Alfred Townsend
MANHATTAN BAY in glory lay
  When Verrazano entered;
His heart was cold, on thoughts of gold
  And ivory concentred:
“Now go about and sail we out!—        5
  Although this scene entrances;
For we Italians seek rich mines
  To satisfy King Francis.”
The Portugee came in from sea,
  Sir Estevan de Gomez;        10
“I smell,” said he, “no spicery
  Nor gum, such as at home is;
King Charles of Spain, he would raise Cain
  And cuss-words use terrific,
If we clove not this granite main        15
  To cloves of the Pacific.”
The Half-Moon next our harbor vexed—
  The Dutchman made appearance—
The Northwest Passage was his text,
  And Albany his clearance;        20
The Indian damsels pleased his ways,—
  He was a gay deceiver,—
And nothing met his sordid praise
  But buffalo and beaver.
Next came Lord Howe, guns at his prow,        25
  His nose and clothes vermilion,
With Hessian bayonets, to plough
  The hills around new Ilion;
Seven years the fleet stayed here to eat,—
  King George he paid the ration,—        30
Till French and Yankees down the street
  Saw an evacuation.
The artisan American
  Came now—a buoyant schemer—
With fleets of fire-winged birds to span        35
  The shores with many a steamer.
At Fulton’s wand our sparkling pond
  Leaped into life and duty,
But nothing came to correspond
  Unto the sense of Beauty.        40
The gold we made, the South-Sea trade,
  The peltries and the spices,
And mechanisms, like crystal prisms,
  Refracted our devices.
Yet in the heart the spell of Art        45
  Slept, like the winter throstle,
Or Faith, in old Diana’s mart,
  Awaiting an apostle.
The son of France his kindling glance
  Threw o’er this radiant Edom,        50
And like a Bayard of romance
  Knelt to the strength of Freedom;
He saw arise athwart our skies
  A Goddess ever living,
Illumination in her eyes,        55
  And flame to darkness giving.
Lift high thy torch and forward march,
  O dame of Revolution!—
All heaven thy triumphal arch,
  All progress the solution;        60
And from the earth and all its dross
  May man behold the story—
Friendship is pious as the cross,
  And only Art is glory!

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