Home  »  Poems of Places An Anthology in 31 Volumes  »  The Great Fire of November 9, 1872

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

New England: Boston, Mass.

The Great Fire of November 9, 1872

By John Boyle O’Reilly (1884–1890)

O BROAD-BREASTED Queen among Nations!

O Mother, so strong in thy youth!

Has the Lord looked upon thee in ire,

And willed thou be chastened by fire,

Without any ruth?

Has the Merciful tired of his mercy,

And turned from thy sinning in wrath,

That the world with raised hands sees and pities

Thy desolate daughters, thy cities,

Despoiled on their path?

One year since thy youngest was stricken:

Thy eldest lies stricken to-day.

Ah! God, was thy wrath without pity,

To tear the strong heart from our city,

And cast it away?

O Father! forgive us our doubting;

The stain from our weak souls efface;

Thou rebukest, we know, but to chasten;

Thy hand has but fallen to hasten

Return to thy grace.

Let us rise purified from our ashes

As sinners have risen who grieved;

Let us show that twice-sent desolation

On every true heart in the nation

Has conquest achieved.