Verse > Anthologies > William McCarty, ed. > The American National Song Book
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William McCarty, comp.  The American National Song Book.  1842.
 
Manhattan City, (New York)
By Philip Freneau (1752–1832)
 
FAIR mistress of a warlike state,
What crime of thine deserves this fate?
While other ports to Freedom rise,
In thee that flame of honour dies.
 
With wars and horrors overspread,        5
Seven years, and more, we fought and bled:
Seized British hosts, and Hessian bands,
And all—to leave you in their hands.
 
While British tribes forsake our plains,
In you a ghastly herd remains;        10
Must vipers to your halls repair?
Must poison taint that purest air?
 
Ah! what a scene torments the eye;
In thee what putrid monsters lie!
What dirt, and mud, and mouldering walls,        15
Burn’d domes, dead dogs, and funerals!
 
Those grassy banks, where oft we stood,
And fondly view’d the passing flood;
There owls obscene, that daylight shun,
Pollute the waters as they run.        20
 
Thus in the east—once Asia’s queen—
Palmyra’s tottering towers are seen;
While through her streets the serpent feeds,
Thus she puts on her mourning weeds!
 
Lo! Skinner there for Scotia hails        25
The sweepings of Cesarean jails;
While, to receive the odious freight,
A thousand sable transports wait.
 
Had he been born in days of old,
When men with gods their ’squires enroll’d,        30
Hermes had claim’d his aid above,
Arch-quibbler in the courts of Jove.
 
O chief, that wrangled at the bar—
Grown old in less successful war;
What crowds of miscreants round you stand!        35
What vagrants bow to your command!
 
 
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