Verse > Anthologies > Samuel Kettell, ed. > Specimens of American Poetry
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Samuel Kettell, ed.  Specimens of American Poetry.  1829.
 
The Town Eclogue
By Royall Tyler (1757–1826)
 
  SEE, see, bluff winter quits the town,
And congees with her surly frown:
In her train the beldame carries
All sweet fashion’s gay vagaries;
Her cork-soled shoes, and bonnet rough,        5
Her camel shawl, and bearskin muff,
Her beaver gloves and fleecy dress,
Red comforter and silk pelisse;
And what is worse, the beldame ’s stole
Of all our bliss the very soul,        10
Has stole the concert, play, and ball;
And what is still the worst of all,
Has Cooper stole, and with him fled,
And left us ****** in his stead.
See the town-bred Spring advancing,        15
Friend to grass, and foe to dancing!
See adorn her lovely tresses
Cabbage sprouts and water cresses!
While for plume, the hoyden lass
Sports a bunch of sparrow-grass.        20
See, beneath her market wreath,
She smiles her dandelion teeth;
Whilst with voice as sweet, or sweeter,
Than Billings’ strains or Sternhold’s metre,
With voice which music cannot ape her,        25
Like nightingale or Mrs Draper,
She cheers her pannier’d mare and screams
Her strawberries and fresh string-beans:
Or, whilst her one wheel’d chariot rattles,
She bawls her epicurean chattels;        30
Her shelly stores from old Cape Cod,
Her mackerel, lobsters, and tom-cod:
Or, in her a awning stalls displays,
Her tempting lures to hungry gaze;
Her luscious stores of fish, fowl, flesh,        35
Her salmon smoked and salmon fresh;
Cod’s tongues and sounds, and smelt, and eel,
Calves’ feet and head, and pluck, and veal—
Far richer flowers than rural spring
From all her scented hoards can bring.        40
For can the rose’s gayest dye
With salmon soused in beauty vie?
Or can the rose’s sweetest smell
Vie with a fresh caught mackerel?
Her rustic coz let others sing,        45
But let me taste the town-bred Spring.
Close by her side see ****** smile,
That critic in dumb fish and oil,
Who thinks there ’s heaven in good dinners,
And hell is fill’d with hungry sinners.        50
Close by her side the glutton stands,
And takes his snuff, and rubs his hands,
With critic nose assays her trash,
And licks his lips and pays the cash.
 
 
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