Verse > Anthologies > Hamilton Fish Armstrong, ed. > The Book of New York Verse
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Hamilton Fish Armstrong, ed.  The Book of New York Verse.  1917.
 
Winter, 1825 (extract from The Seasons)
By Samuel Woodworth
 
NOR is stern Winter’s icy sceptre swayed
O’er sylvan scenes alone—his shafts invade
Our splendid city, too—and every street
Is rendered cheerless by his pointed sleet;
For every arrow from the centaur’s bow,        5
Is tipt with ice, and feathered, too, with snow.
The Battery, now, each verdant charm has lost,
And e’en the Park is silvered o’er with frost;
Vauxhall and Castle-Garden, late so gay,
Where night gave place to artificial day,        10
Are now deserted—even Chatham mourns,
And all must droop till gentle Spring returns.
.    .    .    .    .    .    .
But Winter’s brightest joy, in towns like this,
Is yet unsung—I mean that scene of bliss
To which our annual holy-days give birth,        15
A foretaste of Elysium here on earth!
That period to generous hearts so dear,
That little week of joy that shuts the year,
And brings to light the bright auspicious morn,
When all unite to hail a New-Year born—        20
 
In all my wanderings thro’ this vale of tears,
From infancy, to manhood’s riper years,
Whatever pains assail’d, or griefs oppress’d,
Christmas and New-Year always saw me blest!
A lengthened absence o’er, how pleasant, then,        25
The friends I dearest love to meet again!
Grasp the warm hand, or share the fond embrace,
And see new smiles lit up in every face!
’Twas Christmas eve! the supper board was spread,
The fire blazed high, with logs of hickory fed;        30
The candles, too, unusual lustre lent,
Candles expressly made for this event.
Old tales were told, the cheerful glass went round,
While peals of laughter made the cot resound.
A thousand welcomes hail’d the truant boy,        35
And swift the moments flew on wings of joy;
Till (as they thought, too soon) the hour of prayer
Bade the young urchins to their beds repair.
But first the stocking, from each little leg,
Must be suspended to a hook or peg,        40
That Santa Claus, who travels all the night,
Might, in the dark, bestow his favours right;
These rites observed, they take a parting kiss,
And go to dream of morning’s promised bliss!
Thus did a week of festive pleasures roll,        45
Till New-Year’s happy morning crown’d the whole.
 
 
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