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

Western States: Cincinnati, Ohio.

To Cincinnati

By Edward A. M’Laughlin (1798–1861)

(From The Lovers of the Deep)

CITY of gardens, verdant parks, sweet bowers;

Blooming upon thy bosom, bright and fair,

Wet with the dews of spring, and summer’s showers,

And fanned by every breath of wandering air;

Rustling the foliage of thy green groves, where

The bluebird’s matin wakes the smiling morn,

And sparkling humming-birds of plumage rare,

With tuneful pinions on the zephyrs borne,

Disport the flowers among, and glitter and adorn:

Fair is thy seat, in soft recumbent rest

Beneath the grove-clad hills; whence morning wings

The gentle breezes of the fragrant west,

That kiss the surface of a thousand springs:

Nature, her many-colored mantle flings

Around thee, and adorns thee as a bride;

While polished Art his gorgeous tribute brings,

And dome and spire ascending far and wide,

Their pointed shadows dip in thy Ohio’s tide.

So fair in infancy,—oh, what shall be

Thy blooming prime, expanding like the rose

In fragrant beauty; when a century

Hath passed upon thy birth, and time bestows

The largess of a world, that freely throws

Her various tribute from remotest shores,

To enrich the Western Rome: here shall repose

Science and art; and from time’s subtile ores—

Nature’s unfolded page—knowledge enrich her stores.

Talent and Genius to thy feet shall bring

Their brilliant offerings of immortal birth;

Display the secrets of Pieria’s spring,

Castalia’s fount of melody and mirth:

Beauty, and grace, and chivalry, and worth,

Wait on the Queen of Arts, in her own bowers,

Perfumed with all the fragrance of the earth,

From blooming shrubbery, and radiant flowers;

And hope with rapture wed life’s calm and peaceful hours.

Oft as the spring wakes on the verdant year,

And nature glows in fervid beauty dressed,

The loves and graces shall commingle here,

To charm the queenly City of the West;

Her stately youth, with noble warmth impressed,

Her graceful daughters, smiling as the May,—

Apollos these, and Hebes those confessed,—

Bloom in her warm and fertilizing ray,

While round their happy sires the cherub infants play.

So sings the Muse, as she, with fancy’s eye,

Scans, from imagination’s lofty height,

Thy radiant beaming day,—where it doth lie

In the deep future; glowing on the night

From whose dark womb empires unveiled to light:

Mantled and diademed, and sceptred there,

Thou waitest but the advent of thy flight,

When, like a royal Queen, stately and fair,

The City of the West ascends the regal chair.