Verse > Anthologies > Hamilton Fish Armstrong, ed. > The Book of New York Verse
Hamilton Fish Armstrong, ed.  The Book of New York Verse.  1917.
First of May in New York
By Robert Stevenson Coffin
Sung with applause at Chatham Garden, 1825.

FIRST of May, clear the way!
  Baskets, Barrows, Trundles;
Take good care, mind the Ware!
  Betty, where’s the bundles?
    Pots and Kettles, Broken Victuals,        5
    Feather Beds, Plaster Heads,
    Looking Glasses, Torn Mattresses,
    Spoons and Ladles, Babies’ Cradles,
    Cups and Saucers, Salts and Castors,
Hurry, scurry—grave and gay,        10
All must trudge the first of May.
Now we start, mind the cart!
  Shovels, Bedclothes, Bedding;
  On we go, soft and slow,
  Like a beggar’s wedding!        15
    Jointed Stools, Domestic Tools,
    Chairs unbacked, Tables cracked,
    Gridiron black, Spit and Jack,
    Trammels, Hooks, Musty Books,
    Old Potatoes, Ventilators,        20
Hurry, scurry, grave or gay,
On we trudge, the First of May.
Now we’ve got, to the spot,
  Bellows, Bureau, Settee;
Rope untie, mind your eye,        25
  Pray, be careful Betty;
    Lord! what’s there? Broken Ware;
    Decanters dash’d, China smash’d,
    Pickles spoiled, Carpets soiled,
    Sideboard scratch’d, Cups unmatch’d,        30
    Empty Casks, Broken Flasks,
Hurry, scurry—grave or gay,
Devil take the First of May.

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