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Vachel Lindsay - On the Building of Springfield

Let not our town be large, remembering 
That little Athens was the Muses' home, 
That Oxford rules the heart of London still, 
That Florence gave the Renaissance to Rome. 

Record it for the grandson of your son  
A city is not builded in a day: 
Our little town cannot complete her soul 
Till countless generations pass away. 

Now let each child be joined as to a church 
To her perpetual hopes, each man ordained: 
Let every street be made a reverent aisle 
Where Music grows and Beauty is unchained. 

Let Science and Machinery and Trade 
Be slaves of her, and make her all in all, 
Building against our blatant, restless time 
An unseen, skilful, medieval wall. 

Let every citizen be rich toward God. 
Let Christ the beggar, teach divinity. 
Let no man rule who holds his money dear. 
Let this, our city, be our luxury. 

We should build parks that students from afar 
Would choose to starve in, rather than go home, 
Fair little squares, with Phidian ornament, 
Food for the spirit, milk and honeycomb. 

Songs shall be sung by us in that good day, 
Songs we have written, blood within the rhyme 
Beating, as when Old England still was glad,  
The purple, rich Elizabethan time. 

Say, is my prophecy too fair and far? 
I only know, unless her faith be high, 
The soul of this, our Nineveh, is doomed, 
Our little Babylon will surely die. 

Some city on the breast of Illinois 
No wiser and no better at the start 
By faith shall rise redeemed, by faith shall rise 
Bearing the western glory in her heart. 

The genius of the Maple, Elm and Oak, 
The secret hidden in each grain of corn, 
The glory that the prairie angels sing 
At night when sons of Life and Love are born, 

Born but to struggle, squalid and alone, 
Broken and wandering in their early years. 
When will they make our dusty streets their goal, 
Within our attics hide their sacred tears? 

When will they start our vulgar blood athrill 
With living language, words that set us free? 
When will they make a path of beauty clear 
Between our riches and our liberty? 

We must have many Lincoln-hearted men. 
A city is not builded in a day. 
And they must do their work, and come and go 
While countless generations pass away. 

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On the Building of Springfield - Comments and Information

Poet: Vachel Lindsay
Poem: On the Building of Springfield
Poem of the Day: Jul 11 2014
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