Dedication Of "The Dream Of Man" To London, My Hostess

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City that waitest to be sung,--
  For whom no hand
To mighty strains the lyre hath strung
  In all this land,
Though mightier theme the mightiest ones
  Sang not of old,
The thrice three sisters' godlike sons
  With lips of gold,--
Till greater voice thy greatness sing
  In loftier times,
Suffer an alien muse to bring
  Her votive rhymes.

Yes, alien in thy midst am I,
  Not of thy brood;
The nursling of a norland sky
  Of rougher mood:
To me, thy tarrying guest, to me,
  'Mid thy loud hum,
Strayed visions of the moor or sea
  Tormenting come.
Above the thunder of the wheels
  That hurry by,
From lapping of lone waves there steals
  A far-sent sigh;

And many a dream-reared mountain crest
  My feet have trod,
There where thy Minster in the West
  Gropes toward God.
Yet, from thy presence if I go,
  By woodlands deep
Or ocean-fringes, thou, I know,
  Wilt haunt my sleep;
Thy restless tides of life will foam,
  Still, in my sight;
Thy imperturbable dark dome
  Will crown my night.

O sea of living waves that roll
  On golden sands,
Or break on tragic reef and shoal
  'Mid fatal lands;
O forest wrought of living leaves,
  Some filled with Spring,
Where joy life's festal raiment weaves
  And all birds sing,--
Some trampled in the miry ways,
  Or whirled along
By fury of tempestuous days,--
  Take thou my song!

For thou hast scorned not heretofore
  The gifts of rhyme
I dropped, half faltering, at thy door,
  City sublime;
And though 'tis true I am but guest
  Within thy gate,
Unto thy hands I owe the best
  Awards of fate.
Imperial hostess! thanks from me
  To thee belong:
O living forest, living sea,
  Take thou my song!

© William Watson