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

New England: Norwich, Conn.

The Inland City

By Edmund Clarence Stedman (1833–1908)

GUARDED by circling streams and wooded mountains,

Like sentinels round a queen,

Dotted with groves and musical with fountains,

The city lies serene.

Not far away the Atlantic tide diverges,

And, up the southern shore

Of gray New England, rolls in shortened surges,

That murmur evermore.

The fairy city! not for frowning castle

Do I extol her name,

Not for the gardens and the domes palatial

Of oriental fame;

Yet if there be one man who will not rally,

One man, who sayeth not

That of all cities in the Eastern valley

Ours is the fairest spot;

Then let him roam beneath those elms gigantic,

Or idly wander where

Shetucket flows meandering, where Yantic

Leaps through the cloven air;

Gleaming from rock to rock with sunlit motion,

Then slumbering in the cove;

So sinks the soul, from Passion’s wild devotion,

To the deep calm of Love.

And journey with me to the village olden,

Among whose devious ways

Are mossy mansions, rich with legends golden

Of early forest days;

Elysian time! when, by the rippling water,

Or in the woodland groves,

The Indian warrior and the Sachem’s daughter

Whispered their artless loves;

Legends of fords, where Uncas made his transit,

Fierce for the border war,

And drove all day the alien Narragansett

Back to his haunts afar;

Tales of the after-time, when scant and humble

Grew the Mohegan band,

And Tracy, Griswold, Huntington, and Trumbull

Were judges in the land.

So let the caviller feast on old tradition,

And then at sunset climb

Up yon green hill, where on his broadened vision

May burst the view sublime!

The city spires, with stately power impelling

The soul to look above,

And peaceful homes, in many a rural dwelling,

Lit up with flames of love;—

And then confess, nor longer idly dally,

While sinks the lingering sun,

That of all cities in the Eastern valley

Ours is the fairest one.