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To A Poetical Trio in the City of Gotham.

[This jeu d'esprit was written by Whittier in 1832. The notes are his own. The authorship was not discovered till after his death.]

Three wise men of Gotham
Went to sea in a bowl.

Bards of the island city!—where of old
     The Dutchman smoked beneath his favorite tree,
And the wild eyes of Indian hunters rolled
     On Hudson plunging in the Tappaan Zee,
Scene of Stuyvesant's might and chivalry,
     And Knickerbocker's fame,—I have made bold
To come before ye, at the present time,
     And reason with ye in the way of rhyme.

Time was when poets kept the quiet tenor
     Of their green pathway through th' Arcadian vale,—
Chiming their music in the low sweet manner
     Of song-birds warbling to the ‘Soft South’ gale;
Wooing the Muse where gentle zephyrs fan her,
     I Where all is peace and earth may not assail;
Telling of lutes and flowers, of love and fear,
     Of shepherds, sheep and lambs, and ‘such small deer.’

But ye! lost recreants—straying from the green
     And pleasant vista of your early time,
With broken lutes and crownless skulls—are seen
     Spattering your neighbors with abhorrent slime
Of the low world's pollution!1 Ye have been
     So long apostates from the Heaven of rhyme,
That of the Muses, every mother's daughter
     Blushes to own such graceless bards e'er sought her.

Hurrah for Jackson!’ is the music now
     Which your cracked lutes have learned alone to utter,
As, crouching in Corruption's shadow low,
     Ye daily sweep them for your bread and butter,2

1 Editors of the Mercantile Advertiser and the Evening Post in New York, —the present organs of Jacksonism.

2 Perhaps, after all, they get something better; inasmuch as the Heroites have for some time had exclusive possession of the Hall of St. Tammany, and we have the authority of Halleck that

“There's a barrel of porter in Tammany Hall,
     And the Bucktails are swigging it all the night long.”

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John Greenleaf Whittier (1)
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