George Pope Morris ( )

The Dog-Star Rages

Unseal the city fountains,
  And let the waters flow
In coolness from the mountains
  Unto the plains below.
My brain is parched and erring,
  The pavement hot and dry,
And not a breath is stirring
  Beneath the burning sky.

The belles have all departed
  There does not linger one!
Of course the mart's deserted
  By every mother's son,
Except the street musician
  And men of lesser note,
Whose only earthly mission
  Seems but to toil and vote!

A womanblessings on her!
  Beneath my window see;
She's singingwhat an honor!
  Oh! "Woodman, spare that tree!"
Her "man" the air is killing
  His organ's out of tune
They're gone, with my last shilling,
  To Florence's saloon.

New York is most compactly
  Of brick and mortar made
Thermometer exactly
  One hundred in the shade!
A furnace would be safer
  Than this my letter-room,
Where gleams the sun, a wafer,
  About to seal my doom.

The town looks like an ogre,
  The country like a bride;
Wealth hies to Saratoga,
  And Worth to Sunny-side.
While fashion seeks the islands
  Encircled by the sea,
Taste find the Hudson Highlands
  More beautiful and free.

The omnibuses rumble
  Along their cobbled way
The "twelve inside" more humble
  Than he who takes the pay:
From morn till midnight stealing,
  His horses come and go
The only creatures feeling
  The "luxury of wo!"

We editors of papers,
  Who coin our brains for bread
By solitary tapers
  While others doze in bed,
Have tasks as sad and lonely,
  However wrong or right,
But with this difference only,
  The horses rest at night.

From twelve till nearly fifty
  I've toiled and idled not,
And, though accounted thrifty,
  I'm scarcely worth a groat;
However, I inherit
  What few have ever gained
A bright and cheerful spirit
  That never has complained.

A stillness and a sadness
  Pervade the City Hall,
And speculating madness
  Has left the street of Wall.
The Union Square looks really
  Both desolate and dark,
And that's the case, or nearly,
  From Battery to Park.

Had I a yacht, like Miller,
  That skimmer of the seas
A wheel rigged on a tiller,
  And a fresh gunwale breeze,
A crew of friends well chosen,
  And all a-taunto, I
Would sail for regions frozen
  I'd rather freeze than fry.

Oh, this confounded weather!
  (As some one sang or said,)
My pen, thought but a feather,
  Is heavier than lead;
At every pore I'm oosing
  (I'm "caving in" to-day)
My plumptitude I'm losing,
  And dripping fast away.

I'm weeping like the willow
  That droops in leaf and bough
Let Croton's sparkling billow
  Flow through the city now;
And, as becomes her station,
  The muse will close her prayer:
God save the Corporation!
  Long live the valiant Mayor!

George Pope Morris's other poems:
  1. Life in the West
  2. Thou Hast Woven the Spell
  3. Bessy Bell
  4. The Flag of Our Union
  5. A Legend of the Mohawk

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