Tucker, Mary E.
|A BROADWAY IDYL|
For mother taught Light was, at God's command
And God alone could hold light in His hand.
The seasons change, opinions change,
And even senses change with time;
In age we see not with the eyes
We looked from in our youth's full prime.
Conleur de rose is turned to sober grey,
Which grows more somber every hour and day;
And Fashion too, like all things here below,
Is ever changing, as the sunset cloud;
First a vast mountain, then a fleecy shroud,58A mass of darkness;, now of crimson hue,
Soft, silver-tinted, then, a violet blue,
Then blending all the shades in the rainbow.
Now Fashion's minions, in the last new style,
Pass and repass, disdaining the slight smile,
That curls the lip of ever scornful man,
Whose brains inventive all new styles design,
From fancy gaiters to arranging hair.
I've studied Nature, and I've studied Art,
Can at a glance detect, in smallest part
Of a grand toilet, whose great Artist's skill,
Moulded the madam to her august will,59If from the fashion-plates of Harper's good
"Bazaar," "Die Modenwelt" or Magazine
Of Madam Demorest," the robes were made.
If the rival artists( 21 ) of the present day,
Which hold in Fashion's world the sway
Of reigning queens,
Their wondrous genius used to create,
The airy, fairy figures slight,
Which make this city full of light.
I know, if from our "Merchant Prince" was
The fabric rare, made in a foreign land,60Upon whose very surface seems in wrought
A sightless eye, a wasted, helpless hand
Of some poor wretch, who e'en his senses gave
To deck the garment over which we rave.
Those tasty habits, costly, plain, and neat,
Disclosing 'neath their folds two tiny feet,
Snugly encased in leather-shoes thick soled,
Are snares which catch the unwary heart of
Those costly jewels, too, from "Browne and
Are many a lesson to the wedded taught,
That Fanchon bonnet, ribbon, and a flower,61Speak to man's pocket with all potent power.
But Fashion, although charming; for a while,
Has not the lasting power of a smile.
Broadway! all glorious and grand, the city's
A panorama! on the changing scene I gaze
With reverential awe.
Work of Man's hand--proof of a mortal's skill,
Who moulds such structures to his mighty will
Once, where the "Herald" palace stands,
The red man claimed his home and lands.
One hundred years ago Hans smoked at ease62On summer eve, beneath the sheltering trees
which grew where now the "Leader,"
Is daily, weekly, to our gaze unfurled,
Sending abroad the city's different views
Of national affairs.
Where stands the office of the Surrogate and
A church-bell pealed its sweet and solemn
Not twenty years ago.
So the huge building rears its stately head63Above the city of the sainted dead.
Thrice haunted spot! for when the Hall clock
Strikes the hour of ten each night,
One gifted with a two-fold sight
Can witness scenes, scenes so appalling, drear,
That common souls would faint to even hear--
First comes the red man, brandishing in air
His tomahawk, showing despair
Upon his dusky face;
Then, with triumphant stare,
He waves above his head the hair,
Dripping with gore, of newly murdered foe.
His pale wife follows, and a sad surprise64Rests on her face, and in her mournful eyes.
They seem to miss the grand old forest trees,
And with the wail, "No home! no place of
They vanish as they came.
Fantastic forms in dress of olden times
Enter at will, through each self-opening door,
Or of't arise in seeming through the floor,
Chanting with solemn voices, old sweet hymns;
Such good old tunes, as in the days of yore
Made echoes ring from hill-side, and from shore.
Old wrinkled dames,--men in their manhood's