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.
 
City Lyrics
By Nathaniel P. Willis
 
          Argument: The poet starts from the Bowling Green to take his sweetheart up to Thompson’s for an ice, or (if she is inclined for more) ices. He confines his muse to matters which an everyday man and young woman may see in taking the same promenade for the same innocent refreshment.


COME out, love—the night is enchanting!
  The moon hangs just over Broadway,
The stars are all lighted and panting—
  (Hot weather up there, I dare say!)
’Tis seldom that “coolness” entices,        5
  And love is no better for chilling—
But come up to Thompson’s for ices,
  And cool your warm heart for a shilling!
 
What perfumes come balmily o’er us?
  Mint juleps from City Hotel!        10
A loafer is smoking before us—
  (A nasty cigar, by the smell!)
Oh Woman! thou secret past knowing!
  Like lilachs that grow by the wall,
You breathe every air that is going,        15
  Yet gather but sweetness from all!
 
On, on! by St. Paul’s and the Astor!
  Religion seems very ill-plann’d,
For one day we list to the pastor,
  For six days we list to the band!        20
The sermon may dwell on the future,
  The organ your pulses may calm—
When—pest!—that remembered cachucha
  Upsets both the sermon and psalm!
 
Oh, pity the love that must utter        25
  While goes a swift omnibus by!
(Though sweet is ice-cream when the flutter
  Of fans shows thermometers high)—
But if what I bawl, or I mutter,
  Falls into your ear but to die,        30
Oh, the dew that falls into the gutter
  Is not more unhappy than I!
 
 
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