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.
 
The Dog-Star Rages, 1850
By George P. Morris
 
UNSEAL the city fountains,
  And let the waters flow
In coolness from the mountains
  Unto the plains below.
My brain is parched and erring,        5
  The pavement hot and dry,
And not a breath is stirring
  Beneath the burning sky.
 
The belles have all departed—
  There does not linger one!        10
Of course the mart’s deserted
  By every mother’s son.
Except the street musician,
  And men of lesser note,
Whose only earthly mission        15
  Seems but to toil and vote!
 
A woman—blessings on her!—
  Beneath my window see;
She’s singing—what an honour!—
  Oh! “Woodman, spare that tree!”        20
Her “man” the air is killing—
  His organ’s out of tune—
They’re gone with my last shilling,
  To Florence’s saloon.
 
New York is most compactly        25
  Of brick and mortar made—
Thermometer exactly
  One hundred in the shade!
A furnace would be safer
  Than this my letter-room,        30
Where gleams the sun, a wafer
  About to seal my doom.
 
The town looks like an ogre,
  The country like a bride;
Wealth hies to Saratoga        35
  And Worth to Sunny-Side.
While fashion seeks the islands
  Encircled by the sea,
Taste finds the Hudson Highlands
  More beautiful and free.        40
 
The omnibuses rumble
  Along their cobbled way—
The “twelve inside” more humble
  Than he who takes the pay.
From morn to midnight stealing,        45
  His horses come and go—
The only creatures feeling
  The “luxury of woe!”
 
A stillness and a sadness
  Pervade the City Hall,        50
And speculating madness
  Has left the street of Wall.
The Union Square looks really
  Both desolate and dark,
And that’s the case, or nearly,        55
  From Battery to Park.
 
Had I a yacht like Miller,
  That skimmer of the seas—
A wheel rigged like a tiller,
  And a fresh gunwale breeze,        60
A crew of friends well chosen,
  And all a-tauto, I
Would sail for regions frozen—
  I’d rather freeze than fry.
 
I’m weeping like the willow        65
  That droops in leaf and bough—
Let Croton’s sparkling billow
  Flow through the city now;
And, as becomes her station,
  The muse will close her prayer;        70
God save the Corporation!
  Long live the valiant Mayor!
 
 
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