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

Middle States: New York, the City, N. Y.

New York Harbor on a Calm Day

By Park Benjamin (1809–1864)

IS this a painting? Are those pictured clouds

Which on the sky so movelessly repose?

Has some rare artist fashioned forth the shrouds

Of yonder vessel? Are these imaged shows

Of outline, figure, form, or is there life—

Life with a thousand pulses—in the scene

We gaze upon? Those towering banks between,

E’er tossed these billows in tumultuous strife?

Billows! there ’s not a wave! the waters spread

One broad, unbroken mirror; all around

Is hushed to silence,—silence so profound,

That a bird’s carol, or an arrow sped

Into the distance, would, like larum bell,

Jar the deep stillness and dissolve the spell.