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

Middle States: Newark, N. J.

The Distant Mart

By Thomas Buchanan Read (1822–1872)

THE DAY is shut;—November’s night,

On Newark’s long and rolling height

Falls suddenly and soon;—

At once the myriad stars disclose;

And in the east a glory glows

Like that the red horizon shows

Above the moon.

But on the western mountain tops

The moon, in new-born beauty, drops

Her pale and slender ring;

Still, like a phantom rising red

O’er haunted valleys of the dead,

I see the distant east dispread

Its fiery wing.

I know by thoughts, which, like the skies,

Grow darker as they slowly rise

Above my burning heart,

It is the light the peasant views,

Through nightly falling frost and dews,

While Fancy paints in brighter hues

The distant mart.

Through shadowy hills and meadows brown

The calm Passaic reaches down

Where the broad waters lie;—

From hillside homes what visions teem!

The fruitless hope, ambitious dream,

Go freighted downward with the stream,

And yonder die!

And youths and maids with strange desires

O’er quiet homes and village spires

Behold the radiance grow;

They see the lighted casements fine,

The crowded halls of splendor shine,

The gleaming jewels and the wine,

But not the woe!

Take from yon flaunting flame the ray

Which glows on heads untimely gray,

On blasted heart and brain,—

From rooms of death the watcher’s lamp,

From homes of toil, from hovels damp,

And dens where Shame and Crime encamp

With Want and Pain:—

From vain bazaars and gilded halls,

Where every misnamed pleasure palls,

Remove the chandeliers;

Then mark the scanty, scattered rays,

And think amid that dwindled blaze

How few shall walk their happy ways

And shed no tears!

But now, when fade the fevered gleams,

Some trouble melts away to dreams,

Some pain to sweet repose;—

And as the midnight shadows sweep,

Life’s noisy torrent drops to sleep,

Its unseen current dark and deep

In silence flows.