The Unseen City

Marietta Holley 1836 (United States of America) – 1926

Not far away does that bright city stand,
'Tis but the mist o'er its dividing stream,
That wraps the glory of its glitt'ring strand,
Its radiant skies, and mountains silvery gleam;
Oh, often in the blindness of our fate
We wander very near the city's gate.

We love that unseen city, and we yearn
Ever within our earthly homes to see
Its golden towers, that in the sunset burn,
Its white walls rising from the quiet sea;
Its mansions gleaming with immortal glow,
Filled with the treasure lost to us below.

Yes, dear ones that we loved and lost are there;
Bright in that fair clime beam those sweet eyes now;
Fanned by its soft breeze floats the shining hair,
Hair we have smoothed back from the gentlest brow;
Softest white hands we kissed and clasped in ours
Slipped from our grasp, lured by its glowing flowers.

Fairer it seems, its velvet walks were sweet,
Dearer its quiet streets, with gold paved o'er,
Since o'er them lightly fall the little feet--
The light feet bounding through our homes no more;
Oh, heart's dear music, tearfully missed,
That city's filled with melody like this.

It is not far away; down from its arches roll
Anthems too sacred for the outward ear,
Pouring their haunting sweetness on the soul;
Oh, how our waiting spirits thrill to hear,
In listening to the low bewildering strain,
Voices they said we should not hear again.

Oh, dear to us that city. He is there,
He whom unseen we love; no need of light;
His tender eyes illume the crystal air
Where His beloved walk in vesture white,
What though on earth they wandered, poor, distressed,
And saw through tears His glory, now they rest.

Oh, that fair city, shining o'er the tide,
Thither we journey through the storm and night;
But soon shall we adown its still bay glide,
Soon will the city's gate gleam on our sight,
There with our own forever shall we be,
In that fair city rising from the sea.

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Submitted on May 13, 2011


Marietta Holley

Marietta Holley was an American humorist who used satire to comment on US society and politics Her successful series of Samantha books feature the character of Samantha Allen a wise small-town woman or crackerbox philosopher who goes on adventures in urban America and Europe and her foolish husband Josiah Allen Holley was so skilled with satire and so popular that she was often compared to Mark Twain and Edgar Nye more…

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    "The Unseen City" STANDS4 LLC, 2020. Web. 23 Sep. 2020. <>.

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