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.
 
An Ivory Miniature
By Helen Gray Cone
 
WHEN State Street homes were stately still,
When out of town was Murray Hill,
  In late deceased “old times”
Of vast, embowering bonnet shapes
And creamy-crinkled Canton crapes        5
  And florid annual-rhymes,
 
He owned a small suburban seat
Where now you see a modern street,
  A monochrome of brown:
The sad “brown brown” of Dante’s dreams,        10
A twilight turned to stone that seems
  To weight our city down.
 
Through leafy chestnuts whitely showed
The pillared front of his abode:
  A garden girt it ’round,        15
Where pungent box did trim enclose
The marigold and cabbage rose,
  And “pi’ny” heavy-crowned.
 
Yea, whatso sweets the changing years,
He most affected. Gone! but here’s        20
  His face who loved them so
Old eyes like sherry, warm and mild;
A clear-hued cheek as cheek of child;
  Sleek head, a sphere of snow.
 
His mouth was pious, and his nose        25
Patrician; with which mould there goes
  A disaffected view.
In those sublime, be-oratored,
Spread-eagle days, his soul deplored
  So much red-white-and-blue!        30
 
In umber ink, with S’s long,
He left behind him censure strong,
  In stiffest phrases clothed!
But time—a pleasant jest enough!—
Has turned the tory leaves to buff,        35
  The liberal hue he loathed!
 
Of many a gentle deed he made
Brief simple record. Never fade
  Those everlasting flowers
That spring up wild in good men’s walks;        40
Opinions wither on their stalks,
  And sere grow Fashion’s bowers.
 
Erect, befrilled, in neckcloth tall,
His semblance sits, removed from all
  Our needs and noises new;        45
Released from all the rent we pay
As tenants of the large To-day,
  Cool, in a background blue.
 
And he beneath a cherub chipped
Plump, squamous-pinioned, pouting-lipped,        50
  Sleeps calm where Trinity
Points fingers dark to clouds that fleet;
A warning, seen from surging street,
  A welcome seen from sea.
 
There fall, ghost glorified of tears        55
Shed for the dead in buried years,
  The silver notes of chimes;
And there, with not unreverent hand
Though light, I lay this “greene garland,”
  This woven wreath of rhymes.        60
 
 
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