I gathered with a careless hand,
There where the waters night and day
Are languid in the idle bay,
A little heap of golden sand;
And, as I saw it, in my sight
Awoke a vision brief and bright,
A city in a pleasant land.

I saw no mound of earth, but fair
Turrets and domes and citadels,
With murmuring of many bells;
The spires were white in the blue air,
And men by thousands went and came,
Rapid and restless, and like flame
Blown by their passions here and there.

With careless hand I swept away
The little mound before I knew;
The visioned city vanished too,
And fall'n beneath my fingers lay.
Ah God! how many hast Thou seen,
Cities that are not and have been,
By silent hill and idle bay!

More verses by Gerald Gould