Manhattan City

A Picture

Fair mistress of a warlike State,
What crime of thine deserves this fate?
While other ports to Freedom rise,
In thee that flame of honour dies.

With wars and horrors overspread,
Seven years, and more, we fought and bled:
Seized British hosts and Hessian bands,
And all—to leave you in their hands.

While British tribes forsake our plains,
In you, a ghastly herd remains:
Must vipers to your halls repair;
Must poison taint that purest air?

Ah! what a scene torments the eye:
In thee, what putrid monsters lie!
What dirt, and mud, and mouldering walls,
Burnt domes, dead dogs, and funerals!

Those grassy banks, where oft we stood,
And fondly viewed the passing flood;
There, owls obscene, that daylight shun,
Pollute the waters, as they run.

Thus in the east—once Asia’s queen—
Palmyra’s tottering towers are seen;
While through her streets the serpent feeds,
Thus she puts on her mourning weeds!

Lo! Skinner there for Scotia hails
The sweepings of Cesarean jails:
While, to receive the odious freight,
A thousand sable transports wait.

Had he been born in days of old
When men with gods their 'squires enrolled,
Hermes had claimed his aid above,
Arch-quibbler in the courts of Jove.

O chief, that wrangled at the bar—
Grown old in less successful war;
What crowds of miscreants round you stand,
What vagrants bow to your command!


This poem is in the public domain.