City Lyrics

Original Text: 
Nathaniel Parker Willis, The Poems, Sacred, Passionate, and Humorous (New York: Clark and Maynard, 1868): 279-80. Internet Archive
1Argument. The poet starts from the Bowling Green to take his
2sweetheart up to Thompson's for an ice, or (if she is inclined for more)
3ices. He confines his muse to matters which any every-day man and
4young woman may see in taking the same promenade for the same
5innocent refreshment.
6Come out, love -- the night is enchanting!
7    The moon hangs just over Broadway;
8The stars are all lighted and panting --
9    (Hot weather up there, I dare say I)
10Tis seldom that "coolness" entices,
11    And love is no better for chilling --
12But come up to Thompson's for ices,
13    And cool your warm heart for a shilling!
14What perfume comes balmily o'er us?
16A loafer is smoking before us --
17    (A nasty cigar, by the smell!)
18Oh Woman! thou secret past knowing!
19    Like lilachs that grow by the wall,
20You breathe every air that is going,
21    Yet gather but sweetness from all!
23    Religion seems very ill-plann'd!
24For one day we list to the pastor,
25    For six days we list to the band!
26The sermon may dwell on the future,
27    The organ your pulses may calm --
29    Upsets both the sermon and psalm!
30Oh, pity the love that must utter
31    While goes a swift omnibus by!
32(Though sweet is I scream* when the flutter
33    Of fans shows thermometers high)--
34But if what I bawl, or I mutter,
35    Falls into your ear but to die,
36Oh, the dew that falls into the gutter
37    Is not more unhappy than I!
*Query.- Should this be Ice cream, or I scream? .- PRINTER'S DEVIL.

Notes

15] Broadway hotel near Cedar Street. Back to Line
22] Astor: luxury hotel on City Hall Park. Back to Line
28] cachucha: Spanish dance. Back to Line
RPO poem Editors: 
Ian Lancashire / Sharine Leung
RPO Edition: 
2012
Rhyme: 
Form: