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 woman–blessings on her!–
Beneath my window see;
She’s singing–what 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!

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