Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE 'STAY AT HOME'S' PLAINT, 1878, by GEORGE AUGUSTUS BAKER JR.



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THE 'STAY AT HOME'S' PLAINT, 1878, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: The spring has grown to summer
Last Line: They've left behind in town.
Subject(s): Home; New York City - 19th Century


The Spring has grown to Summer;
The sun is fierce and high;
The city shrinks and withers
Beneath a burning sky.
Ailanthus trees are fragrant,
And thicker shadows cast,
While berry-girls, with voices shrill,
And watering-carts go past.

In offices like ovens
We sit without our coats;
Our cuffs are moist and shapeless,
No collars bind our throats.
We carry huge umbrellas
On Broad Street and on Wall,
Oh, how thermometers go up!
And, oh, how stocks do fall!

The nights are full of music,
Melodious Teuton troops
Beguile us, calmly smoking,
On balconies and stoops.
With eyes half-shut and dreamy,
We watch the fire-flies' spark,
And image far-off faces,
As day dies into dark.

The avenue is lonely,
The houses choked with dust;
The shutters, barred and bolted,
The bell-knobs all a-rust.
No blossom-like spring dresses,
No faces young and fair,
From "Dickels" to "The Brunswick,"
No promenader there.

The girls we used to walk with
Are far away, alas!
The feet that kissed its pavement
Are deep in country grass.
Along the scented hedge-rows,
Among the green old trees,
Are blooming city faces
'Neath rosy-lined pongees.

They're cottaging at Newport;
They're bathing at Cape May;
In Saratoga's ball-rooms
They dance the hours away.
Their voices through the quiet
Of haunted Catskill break;
Or rouse those dreamy dryads,
The nymphs of Echo Lake.

The hands we've led through Germans,
And squeezed, perchance, of yore,
Now deftly grasp the bridle,
The mallet, and the oar.
The eyes that wrought our ruin
On other men look down;
We're but the broken play-things
They've left behind in town.





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