The bricks one after another each laid so workmanlike in its place,
     and set with a knock of the trowel- handle,
The piles of materials, the mortar on the mortar-boards, and the
     steady replenishing by the hod- men;
Spar-makers in the spar-yard, the swarming row of well-grown
The swing of their axes on the square-hew'd log shaping it toward
     the shape of a mast,
The brisk short crackle of the steel driven slantingly into the pine,
The butter-color'd chips flying off in great flakes and slivers,
The limber motion of brawny young arms and hips in easy
The constructor of wharves, bridges, piers, bulk-heads, floats,
     stays against the sea;
The city fireman, the fire that suddenly bursts forth in the
     close-pack'd square,
The arriving engines, the hoarse shouts, the nimble stepping and
The strong command through the fire-trumpets, the falling in line,
     the rise and fall of the arms forcing the water,
The slender, spasmic, blue-white jets, the bringing to bear of the
     hooks and ladders and their execution,
The crash and cut away of connecting wood-work, or through
     floors if the fire smoulders under them,
The crowd with their lit faces watching, the glare and dense
The forger at his forge-furnace and the user of iron after him,
The maker of the axe large and small, and the welder and temperer,
The chooser breathing his breath on the cold steel and trying the
     edge with his thumb,
The one who clean-shapes the handle and sets it firmly in
     the socket;
The shadowy processions of the portraits of the past users also,
The primal patient mechanics, the architects and engineers,
The far-off Assyrian edifice and Mizra edifice,
The Roman lictors preceding the consuls,
The antique European warrior with his axe in combat,

The uplifted arm, the clatter of blows on the helmeted head,
The death-howl, the limpsy tumbling body, the rush of friend
     and foe thither,
The siege of revolted lieges determin'd for liberty,
The summons to surrender, the battering at castle gates, the
     truce and parley,
The sack of an old city in its time,
The bursting in of mercenaries and bigots tumultuously and
Roar, flames, blood, drunkenness, madness,
Goods freely rifled from houses and temples, screams of women
     in the gripe of brigands,
Craft and thievery of camp-followers, men running, old persons
The hell of war, the cruelties of creeds,
The list of all executive deeds and words just or unjust,
The power of personality just or unjust.


Muscle and pluck forever!
What invigorates life invigorates death,
And the dead advance as much as the living advance,
And the future is no more uncertain than the present,
For the roughness of the earth and of man encloses as
     much as the delicatesse of the earth and of man,
And nothing endures but personal qualities.

What do you think endures?
Do you think a great city endures?
Or a teeming manufacturing state? or a prepared constitution?
     or the best built steamships?
Or hotels of granite and iron? or any chef-d' oeuvres of
     engineering, forts, armaments?

Away! these are not to be cherish'd for themselves,
They fill their hour, the dancers dance, the musicians play
     for them,
The show passes, all does well enough of course,
All does very well till one flash of defiance.

A great city is that which has the greatest men and women,
If it be a few ragged huts it is still the greatest city in the
     whole world.


The place where a great city stands is not the place of
     stretch'd wharves, docks, manufactures, deposits of
     produce merely,
Nor the place of ceaseless salutes of new-comers or the
     anchor-lifters of the departing,
Nor the place of the tallest and costliest buildings or shops
     selling goods from the rest of the earth,
Nor the place of the best libraries and schools, nor the place
     where money is plentiest,
Nor the place of the most numerous population.

Where the city stands with the brawniest breed of orators
     and bards,
Where the city stands that is belov'd by these, and loves them
     in return and understands them,
Where no monuments exist to heroes but in the common
     words and deeds,
Where thrift is in its place, and prudence is in its place,
Where the men and women think lightly of the laws,
Where the slave ceases, and the master of slaves ceases,

  By PanEris using Melati.

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