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

Middle States: Brooklyn, N. Y.


By Rev. S. Miller Hagerman (1848–1905)

Two Cities

SIDE by side rise the two great cities,

Afar on the traveller’s sight;

One, black with the dust of labor,

One, solemnly still and white.

Apart, and yet together,

They are reached in a dying breath,

But a river flows between them,

And the river’s name is—Death.

Apart, and yet together,

Together, and yet apart,

As the child may die at midnight

On the mother’s living heart.

So close come the two great cities,

With only the river between;

And the grass in the one is trampled,

But the grass in the other is green.

The hills with uncovered foreheads,

Like the disciples meet,

While ever the flowing water

Is washing their hallowed feet.

And out on the glassy ocean,

The sails in the golden gloom

Seem to me but moving shadows

Of the white emmarbled tomb.

Anon, from the hut and the palace

Anon, from early till late,

They come, rich and poor together,

Asking alms at thy Beautiful Gate.

And never had life a guerdon

So welcome to all to give,

In the land where the living are dying,

As the land where the dead may live.

O silent City of Refuge

On the way to the City o’erhead!

The gleam of thy marble milestones

Tells the distance we are from the dead.

Full of feet, but a city untrodden,

Full of hands, but a city unbuilt,

Full of strangers who know not even

That their life-cup lies there spilt.

They know not the tomb from the palace,

They dream not they ever have died:

God be thanked they never will know it

Till they live on the other side!

From the doors that death shut coldly

On the face of their last lone woe:

They came to thy glades for shelter

Who had nowhere else to go.