Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
America: Vols. XXV–XXIX. 1876–79.

Western States: Chicago, Ill.


By Bret Harte (1836–1902)

(The Great Conflagration of October 8–10, 1871)

BLACKENED and bleeding, helpless, panting, prone,

On the charred fragments of her shattered throne

Lies she who stood but yesterday alone.

Queen of the West! by some enchanter taught

To lift the glory of Aladdin’s court,

Then lose the spell that all that wonder wrought.

Like her own prairies by some chance seed sown,

Like her own prairies in one brief day grown,

Like her own prairies in one fierce night mown.

She lifts her voice, and in her pleading call

We hear the cry of Macedon to Paul,

The cry for help that makes her kin to all.

But haply with wan fingers may she feel

The silver cup hid in the proffered meal,

The gifts her kinship and our loves reveal.