Hymn of the City
By William Cullen Bryant
NOT in the solitude
Alone may man commune with heaven, or see,
Only in savage wood
And sunny vale, the present Deity;
Or only hear His voice
Where the winds whisper and the waves rejoice.
Even here do I behold
Thy steps, Almighty!—here, amidst the crowd,
Through the great city rolled,
With everlasting murmur deep and loud—
Choking the ways that wind
’Mongst the proud piles, the work of human kind.
Thy golden sunshine comes
From the round heaven, and on their dwellings lies,
And lights their inner homes;
For them thou fill’st with air the unbounded skies,
And givest them the stores
Of ocean, and the harvests of its shores.
Thy spirit is around,
Quickening the restless mass that sweeps along;
And this eternal sound—
Voices and footfalls of the numberless throng—
Like the resounding sea,
Or like the rainy tempest, speaks of thee.
And when the hours of rest
Come, like a calm upon the mid-sea brine,
Hushing its billowy breast—
The quiet of that moment too is thine;
It breathes of Him who keeps
The vast and helpless city while it sleeps.