Verse > Anthologies > Hamilton Fish Armstrong, ed. > The Book of New York Verse
Hamilton Fish Armstrong, ed.  The Book of New York Verse.  1917.
Isaak Walton in Maiden Lane
By Percy MacKaye
IN that Manhattan alley long yclept,
With gentle olden music, Maiden Lane,
Where sick and sad-eyed Traffic scarce has slept
Even at midnight, in her lust for gain,
Rolling in restive pain        5
Through the stern vigil of a century,
There, mid the din of harsh reality—
The newsboy’s shriek, car’s clang and huckster’s chaff,
The cobble’s roar, and the loud drayman’s laugh,
And the dull stare,        10
The inhuman, haunted glare
Of the faces—the grey faces
Of Mammon’s stark-mad races,
Sordid and slattern,
Modish and tattern,        15
Loveless in their misery—
There, in the midst of all,
Seated upon a stall,
Musing on meadows, Isaak, I met thee!—
How my heart stopped for too much happiness,        20
To meet thee there in that maelstrom of men,
Benignant, wise and calm! Ah, gently then
Came back, in fancy’s dress,
All that of old was sweet,
Serene and fair, to grace the garish street.        25
Musing on meadows now in Maiden Lane,
The turbid current surging at my side
Became the flow of Thames’ sequestered tide,
The newsboy’s cry waned to a curlew’s call,
The jangling pedlar tended tinkling sheep        30
Along green hedgerows; even the drayman’s brawl
Sweetened to an old soliloquy, till all
That strident world has chastened to a sleep
Where, in a twilit eddy of my dream,
Thine image, Isaak, pored upon a bream.        35

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