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Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
Spain, Portugal, Belgium, and Holland: Vols. XIV–XV. 1876–79.

Holland: Amsterdam

To the Directors of Amsterdam in Their New Stadthouse

By Constantijn Huygens (1596–1687)

Translated by John Bowring

ILLUSTRIOUS men! who bade the world’s eighth wonder rise,

Lifting its crown of stone sublimely to the skies;

Whose splendid walls are reared by skill’s unerring hand,

To use, the end, the source of all that ’s rich and grand;

May God, who gave you power to mingle good with show,

Within that stately pile his favoring smiles bestow,

That ye to all the world may prove what men ye are;

And peace be ever there, and misery banished far.

But if it be ordained, when years have rolled away,

That e’en these marble walls must crumble and decay;

And if it be by Heaven, in future times, decreed,

That to your wondrous work another must succeed,—

May God, your fathers’ God,—may God, your children’s father,

Beneath his shadowing wings those children kindly gather,

And give them an abode, when ye from earth have past,

As much excelling this as this excels the last!