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.
 
New York in 1826 (abridged)
By George P. Morris
 
Address of the carrier of the New York Mirror, on the first day of that year.

TWO years have elapsed since the verse of S. W.
  Met your bright eyes like a fanciful gem;
With that kind of stanza the muse will now trouble you,
  She often frolicks with one G. P. M.
As New Year approaches, she whispers of coaches,        5
  And lockets and broaches, without any end.
Of sweet rosy pleasure, of joy without measure,
  And plenty of leisure to share with a friend.
 
’Tis useless to speak of the gas-light so beautiful, 1
  Shedding its beams through “the mist of the night.”        10
Eagles and tigers and elephants, dutiful,
  Dazzle the vision with columns of light.
The lamb and the lion—ask editor Tryon,
  His word you’ll rely on—are seen near the Park,
From which such lights flow out, as wind cannot blow out,        15
  Yet often they go out, and all’s in the dark.
 
’Tis useless to speak of the many civilities
  Shown to Fayette in this country of late,
Or even to mention the splendid abilities
  Clinton possesses for ruling the state,        20
The Union of water and Erie’s bright daughter,
  Since Neptune has caught her they’ll sever no more;
And Greece and her troubles (the rhyme always doubles)
  Have vanished like bubbles that burst on the shore.
 
’Tis useless to speak of Broadway and the Bowery;        25
  Both are improving and growing so fast!
Who would have thought that old Stuyvesant’s dowery
  Would hold in its precincts a play-house at last!
Well, wonder ne’er ceases, but daily increases,
  And pulling to pieces, the town to renew,        30
So often engages the thoughts of our sages,
  That when the fit rages what will they not do?
 
’Tis useless to speak of the want of propriety
  In forming our city so crooked and long;
Our ancestors, bless them, were fond of variety—        35
  ’Tis naughty to say that they ever were wrong!
Tho’ strangers may grumble and thro’ the street stumble,
  Take care they don’t tumble through crevices small,
For trap-doors we’ve plenty, on side-walks and entry,
  And no one stands sentry to see they don’t fall.        40
 
’Tis useless to speak of the din that so heavily
  Fell on our senses as midnight drew near;
Trumpets and bugles and conch-shells, so cleverly
  Sounded the welkin with happy New Year!
With jew’s-harps and timbrels and musical thimbles,        45
  Tin platters for cymbals, and frying-pans too;
Dutch-ovens and brasses, and jingles and glasses,
  With reeds of all classes, together they blew!
 
For holy-day pleasure, why these are the times for it;
  Pardon me, then, for so trifling a lay;        50
This stanza shall end, if I can find rhymes for it—
  May you, dear patrons, be happy to-day!
Tho’ life is so fleeting, and pleasure so cheating,
  That we are oft meeting with accidents here,
Should Fate seek to dish you, oh then may the issue        55
  Be what I now wish you—a Happy New Year.
 
Note 1. Gas-light was introduced into New York at this time and the gas-burners were in the shapes here mentioned. [back]
 
 
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