Maiden Lane

Down Maiden Lane, where clover grew,  
  Sweet-scented in the early air,  
Where sparkling rills went shining through  
  Their grassy banks, so green, so fair,  
Blithe little maids from Holland land
  Went tripping, laughing each to each,  
To bathe the flax, or spread a band  
  Of linen in the sun to bleach.  
More than two centuries ago  
  They wore this path—a maiden's lane—
Where now such waves of commerce flow  
  As never dazed a burgher's brain.  
Two hundred years ago and more  
  Those thrifty damsels, one by one,  
With plump, round arms their linen bore
  To dry in Mana-ha-ta's sun.  
But now! Behold the altered view;  
  No tender sward, no bubbling stream,  
No laughter,—was it really true,  
  Or but the fancy of a dream?
Were these harsh walls a byway sweet,  
  This floor of stone a grassy plain?  
Pray vanish, modern city street,  
  And let us stroll down Maiden Lane.

From The Book of New York Verse, 1917.