London After the Great Fire, 1666

by John Dryden

 

Methinks already from this chymic flame
I see a city of more precious mould,
Rich as the town which gives the Indies name,
With silver paved and all divine with gold.
 
Already, labouring with a mighty fate,
She shakes the rubbish from her mounting brow,
And seems to have renewed her charterís date,
Which Heaven will to the death of time allow.
 
More great than human now and more August,
New deified she from her fires does rise:
Hew widening streets on new foundations trust,
And, opening, into larger parts she flies.
 
Before, she like some shepherdess did show
Who sat to bathe her by a riverís side,
Not answering to her fame, but rude and low,
Nor taught the beauteous arts of modern pride.
 
Now like a maiden queen she will behold
From her high turrets hourly suitors come;
The East with incense and the West with gold
Will stand like suppliants to receive her doom.
 
The silver Thames, her own domestic flood,
Shall bear her vessels like a sweeping train,
And often wind, as of his mistress proud,
With longing eyes to meet her face again.
 
The wealthy Tagus and the wealthier Rhine
The glory of their towns no more shall boast,
And Seine, that would with Belgian rivers join,
Shall find her lustre stained and traffic lost.
 
The venturous merchant who designed more far
And touches on our hospitable shore,
Charmed with the splendour of this northern star,
Shall here unlade him and depart no more.
 
John Dryden | Classic Poems
 
A Song for St. Cecilia's Day, 1687 ] from Absalom and Achitophel ] [ London After the Great Fire, 1666 ] To the Memory of Mr Oldham ] Macflecknoe ]
 

 


 

 

 
 
 
 

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