Proem: To Brooklyn Bridge, lines 1-20

Line 2; “Seagull” – seagulls frequently appear in The Bridge.  

“Seagulls,” courtesy of Royalty Free Stock Images
Line 4; “Chained bay waters Liberty”- chains were strung across New York Harbor during World War I to prevent German
submarines from performing sneak attacks on the ships docked there

Stanzas 1-2; “how many…from our day…” – work day, from dawn till the elevator ride down to the ground floor  to leave

Line5; “inviolate” – not violated, unmarred (OED)

Lines 9-10: “I think of cinemas, panoramic sleights / With multitudes bent toward some flashing scene”

Courtesy of

Line 9; “sleight” -craft or cunning employed so as to deceive (OED)

Line 13; “Thee” – referring to the Brooklyn Bridge

Line 18; “bedlamite” – a madman or lunatic (OED)

Line 18; “parapet” – a defense of earth and stone to conceal troops from the enemy’s observation and fire; a protection against
missiles, raised on the top of a wall or rampart (OED). In this case, Crane is referring to the columns holding up the bridge or the

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