Thursday, November 12, 2009

From A City Window

Margaret E. Sangster is one of my favorite 19th century authors and editors, and although she published books, articles, and poems, she is perhaps best known for her work as the editor of Harper's Bazaar. She was born Margaret Munson on February 22, 1838 in New Rochelle, New York. She was born into a deeply religious family and most of her schooling was done at home.

She obviously had an inborn talent for writing, and at the tender age of 17, her first short story "Little Janney" was published, and she won a commission to write 100 children's stories. She gave up writing when she married George Sangster in 1858; he died in 1871, and she once again turned to writing. Soon thereafter, she became a magazine editor to "Hearth and Home"...while she continued sending articles to to other magazines. In 1889, she became the editor of "Harper's Bazaar" where she remained until the magazine failed in 1899. But, there was always work for such a talented writer and for many years she was ranked as one of America's most popular poets.

She died in South Orange, New Jersey on June 2, 1912. Below is one of favorites. Enjoy.


The dust is thick on the city street,
The smoke on the city sky
Hangs dense and gray at the close of day--
And the city crowds surge by
With heavy feet through the summer heat
Like a sluggish sullen tide;--
But hand in hand through a magic land
We are wandering side by side.

From somewhere, dear, there's a magic land
On the shores of a silver sea;
And there is a boat with turquoise sails--
With sails that are wide and free;
A boat that is whirling through the spray,
That is coming for you and me.

Somewhere, dear, there's a singing breeze
That creeps through the laughing air
To the wide-flung boughs of a blue-black tree--
It touches your joyous hair;
And the touch of it is as soft and light
As a baby's lisping prayer.

Somewhere, dear, there's a bit of beach
Where the sand is warm and white;
Where the sky seems lose and the drifting clouds
Are tenderly, warmly bright.
And there is a ship with turquoise sails,
With sails like a living light!

Ah, the ship is bring us dreams come true,
And hopes that are all dew-kissed;
It is bringing us day that are all aglow
With Scarlet and amethyst;...
Bringing us faith to find our way
Through a world that is wrapped in mist.

Our window looks on the city street,
We can glimpse the city sky;
But our hearths are gay at the close of day.
Though the tired crowds pass by
With heavy feet through the blinding heat,
Like a sullen, sluggish tide...
For hand in hand through a magic land,
We are wandering side by side.

(By Margaret E. Sangster)


  1. She was clearly a very accomplished woman for her time!

  2. Beautiful! Beautiful! Beautiful!

    Thank you for introducing me to this lady.