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.
 
Nabby, the New York Housekeeper
By Philip Freneau
 
To Nanny, her Friend in Philadelphia, after the Departure of Congress from New York,
1790

WELL, Nanny, I am sorry to find, since you writ us,
The Congress at last has determined to quit us;
You now may begin with your dish-clouts and brooms,
To be scouring your knockers and scrubbing your rooms;
As for us, my dear Nanny, we’re much in a pet,        5
And hundreds of houses will be to be let;
Our streets, that were just in a way to look clever,
Will now be neglected and nasty as ever;
Again we must fret at the Dutchified gutters
And pebble-stone pavements that wear out our trotters.        10
My master looks dull, and his spirits are sinking,
From morning to night he is smoking and thinking,
Laments the expense of destroying the fort,
And says, your great people are all of a sort—
He hopes and prays they may die in a stall        15
If they leave us in debt—for Federal Hall—
And Strap has declared, he has so much regards,
He will go, if they go, for the sake of their beards.
Miss Letty, poor lady, is so in the pouts,
She values no longer our dances and routs,        20
And sits in a corner, dejected and pale,
As dull as a cat, and as lean as a rail!—
Poor thing, I’m certain she’s in a decay,
And all—because Congress resolve—not to stay!
This Congress unsettled is, sure, a sad thing,        25
Seven years, my dear Nanny, they’ve been on the wing;
My master would rather saw timber, or dig,
Than see them removing to Conegocheague,
Where the houses and kitchens are yet to be framed,
The trees to be felled, and the streets to be named;        30
Of the two we had rather your town should receive ’em—
So here, my dear Nanny, in haste I must leave ’em,
I’m a dunce at inditing—and as I’m a sinner,
The beefe is half raw—and the bell rings for dinner!
 
 
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