Verse > Anthologies > Hamilton Fish Armstrong, ed. > The Book of New York Verse
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Hamilton Fish Armstrong, ed.  The Book of New York Verse.  1917.
 
Nathan Hale
By Chester Firkins
 
Somewhere beneath the thundering city’s pave,
    An unmarked grave;
Somewhere in the vast spaces beyond Time,
    A fame sublime;
And that is all we watchers here below        5
    May dream or know
Of him, the tranquil and intrepid soul
Who died for us among the death-drum’s roll
    In Henry Rutgers’ orchard long ago.
.    .    .    .    .    .    .
You’ve been, perchance, in Market Street,        10
Where now the weary, hurrying feet
Of thousands clatter, day by day,
To join the throngs of East Broadway;
Where creak and crash of car and dray
Mingle with children’s voices sweet;        15
Where poverty and sorrow meet,
And yet where some seem always gay.
 
Though toil and tumult wrap you ’round,
Tread softly—it is holy ground!
’Twas in September of the year        20
When Liberty first lifted clear
Her daring sword, they brought him here,
And slew him as he faced them, bound,
And buried him without a mound
Or yet a blossom for his bier!        25
 
Oh, if your heart as mine doth burn,
These tenemental walls will turn
Into a yellowing orchard close,
With redcoat men in silent rows;
And he, in high, serene repose,        30
Lifts eyes that but a moment yearn
Toward his torn letters ’mongst the fern
As proudly to his doom he goes.
.    .    .    .    .    .    .
Somewhere beneath the thundering city’s pave,
    An unmarked grave;        35
But is not the great city o’er him sprent
    His better monument?
These mighty sons of Cæsar and of Shem,
    He died for them!
The tumult of the hosts he helped to free,        40
The roar of the wide mart, his elegy,
    His solemn and triumphant requiem!
 
 
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