lines in commemoration of the heroes of the revolution

by “A Native of Newark”

Image: Newark Public Library

A sad’ning sound’s in the troubl’d air
        That fans the western main—
Britannia mourns in fix’d despair,
        Her bravest heroes slain.

Her honor gone, her banners torn,
        And trampled in the dust;
The dauntless few who brav’d her scorn
        Have proved their cause was just.

The din of war has died away,
        And foemen sheathe the sword;
Columbia spurns despotic sway,
        She owns no foreign lord.

Thanks to our sires who nobly dar’d
        Oppression’s iron front,
And the free rights of man declar’d,
        E’en in the battle’s brunt,

Who drew the sword but to oppose
        Stern arbitrary laws,
Nor sheath’d it till fair freedom rose
        And crown’d the glorious cause.

Let not the aged sire bewail
        His son, the prop of age;
He fought his country’s foes to quell
        And tame their vengeful rage.

Mourn not, ye weeping widow’d train,
        A husband’s timeless call;
Freedom forbids you to complain—
        See! freedom decks their fall.

Mourn not, ye noble orphan band,
        A brave departed sire;
The glory of your native land
        Lights up their fun’ral pyre.

Blest be the mem’ry of the brave,
        Who in the conflict died;
Each nobly sought a freeman’s grave,
        When freedom was deny’d.

Oh, may the rights for which they strove
        Endure thro’ lasting time;
May union, liberty and love
        Long bless this happy clime.

There’s sound of gladness and of joy,
        And heaven-ward pealing strains,
Of praise and thanks to God on high,
        Who broke the despot’s chains;

Who rent their galling yoke in twain,
        And snapt their iron goad;
Who eas’d the burden of their pain
        And laid aside their load:

Gave the lone orphan child a sire
        And calm’d the mourner’s wo;
Bade desolating war expire,
        And peace and joy to flow.

Columbians, venerate the name,
        The all comprising will,
Which ever was and is the same,
        The kind dispenser still

Of every good and every bliss
        Which men on earth enjoy;
Almighty sov’reign of the world,
        Jehovah the most high.

The Camp Homestead (pictured) is considered one of Newark’s great lost landmarks. Located at the present intersection of Broad and Camp Streets, it was the dwelling of Captain Nathaniel Camp, whom legend says General George Washington charged with defending the town during a visit there in 1777. The home is thought to have stood into the 1850s.

The above verses appear in a small volume issued in Newark in 1831, called The Aspect of the Times: A Political Poem, and Other Pieces. The title work is an unapologetic denunciation of Indian land claims (a vexatious issue of the times) and of “those, who continue, without regard to honor or truth, to blast and defame the real well-wishers of the Union.” The unidentified author despaired of changing anyone’s opinion, saying, “I fear, the case is hopeless.”

the brown mug of cider

Image: William Coxe, A view of the cultivation of fruit trees, and the management of orchards and cider (1817)
Image: William Coxe, A view of the cultivation of fruit trees, and the management of orchards and cider (1817)

Philadelphia may boast of her porter and ale,
The one like pure amber, the other so pale;
She may chaunt the rich virtues of heart-warming beer,
And sing of peach brandy, the Irishman’s cheer–
Unshackled by custom, I’ll choose for myself
The brown mug of cider that stands on the shelf;
                The neat mug of cider,
                The dear mug of cider,
The brown mug of cider that stands on the shelf.

The praises of Bacchus his vot’ries may sing,
To the jolly old drinker their sacrifice bring,
With bays they crown the blithe god of the vine,
While they bow at his altar, I’ll worship at mine:
For dear to this palate, aye, dearer than pelf,
Is the brown mug of cider that stands on the shelf;
                The neat mug of cider,
                The dear mug of cider,
The brown mug of cider that stands on the shelf.

The Yankees may tell of their switchell and rum,
And bellows-top too, they may count in the sum;
Molasses and water is stale in my eye,
And rum, one may swallow, and after be dry–
Flip may suit some odd mortals, but not so myself,
‘Tis the brown mug of cider that stands on the shelf;
                The neat mug of cider,
                The dear mug of cider,
The brown mug of cider that stands on the shelf.

Then here’s to old orchard, the drink of my sires,
The liquor that mirth and good feeling inspires;
While the farm-house is thrift and the walls are of stone,
And the granary is filled, shall this nectar be known;
‘Tis the yeoman’s panacea, who cares not for pelf,
While the brown mug of cider is seen on his shelf;
                The neat mug of cider,
                The dear mug of cider,
The brown mug of cider that stands on the shelf.

Newark’s apple orchards were a prominent feature of the pre-industrial town, sustaining the production of its famed hard cider. The best brew, sometimes touted as “Newark Champagne,” was thought to result from a blend of the Harrison and the Campfield, or Newark Sweeting–two apple varieties first cultivated here.

The New-Jersey Eagle printed the above encomium on June 29, 1821. It was subtitled “A Parody,” and signed simply “NEWARK.”

newark trades

from the German of Hans Sachs


The Hatter

Come, all ye merchants, hither flock
And judge the virtues of my stock.
Of good clean wool I make each hat,
Beaten and felted smooth and flat.
I shape it well and give it style,
Making it durable the while.
When winter comes with ice and snow,
I make warm woolen socks also.


The Tanner

I dry the skins out in the air,
Removing first each clinging hair.
Then in the Escher stream I dash them,
And thoroughly from dirt I wash them.
Cow-skin and calf in tan I keep,
Long months in bark-soaked water steep,
Then with a brush of hair I scrape them
And on the selling counter drape them.


The Shoemaker

Just see my stock upon the line,
Big shoes and little, coarse and fine.
No matter what the shoes you wear
I’ll warrant you a fitting pair.
Of riding boots a goodly store
And ladies’ shoes I have galore.
Fire buckets, holsters all beside
Of leather made, you’ll find inside.


The Brewer

I boil sweet barley in big kettles,
Then let it stand until it settles,
Then in the bitter green hop flowers
I stir, and let it cool for hours.
Then into heavy casks I pour it,
Tight caulked and standing open for it.
When well fermented, ripe and heady,
The clear, strong, bitter beer is ready.


The Brushmaker

Behold me at my humble trade;
Behold the brushes I have made,–
Brushes of leather, soft, with gold,
For ladies’ slender hands to hold,
Brushes to smooth the satin’s sheen,
Rough brushes coarser stuffs to clean.
To dust your gems, your floor and stable,
Some brush of mine is always able.


The Jeweler

I, jeweler, make precious things,
Like seals and golden signet rings,
Neckchains all set with jewels rare,
Brooches and combs for throat and hair,
Dishes of silver, bowls of gold,
Goblets and vases manifold.
I stint no labor at my task
For those who bring the price I ask.


In The Newarker of March 1914 John Cotton Dana offered “roughly translated” versions of twelve poems on trades and occupations by Hans Sachs of Nuremberg. Accompanied by miniatures of Jost Ammon’s original woodcuts, the translations themselves were unattributed.

We reproduce six of Dana’s selections (trades “all followed in Newark today”), and give the German originals from the work popularly known as Das Ständebuch (“The Book of Trades”), published in Frankfurt am Main in 1568.


             The Hatter (Der Hüter)

                Kehrt hie hereyn ir Kauffleut all,
                Schauwt, ob mein arbeit euch gefall,
                Von guter Wolln, sauber, nicht biltzet,
                Wol gschlagen, gwalcken und gefiltzet,
                Auch wol geformbt und zugericht,
                Gezogen Hüt und auch gebicht,
                Auch mach ich der Filtzsocken viel,
                Wenn der kalt Winter anbrechn wil.


             The Tanner (Der Läderer)

                Die Heuwt die henck ich in den Bach,
                Werff sie in den Escher darnach,
                Dergleich die Kalbfel auch also,
                Darnach wirff ich sie in das Loh,
                Da sie ir ruhe ein zeit erlangn,
                Darnach henck ichs auff an die Stangn,
                Wüsch darnach ab mit eim Harwüsch,
                Und habs feyl auff dem Leder Tisch.


             The Shoemaker (Der Schuhmacher)

                Hereyn, wer Stiffl und Schuh bedarff,
                Die kan ich machen gut und scharff,
                Büchsn, Armbrosthalffter und Wahtseck,
                Feuwr Eymer und Reyßtruhen Deck,
                Gewachtelt Reitstieffl, Kürißschuch,
                Pantoffel, gefütert mit Thuch,
                Wasserstiffl und Schuch außgeschnittn,
                Frauwenschuch, nach Höflichen sittn.


             The Brewer (Der Bierbreuwer)

                Auß Gersten sied ich gutes Bier,
                Feißt und Süß, auch bitter monier,
                In ein Breuwkessel weit und groß,
                Darein ich denn den Hopffen stoß,
                Laß den in Brennten külen baß,
                Damit füll ich darnach die Faß
                Wol gebunden und wol gebicht,
                Denn giert er und ist zugericht.


             The Brushmaker (Der Bürstenbinder)

                Ein Bürstenbinder nennt man mich,
                Allerley gattung mache ich,
                Schön bürsten für Frauwn und junckfrauwn
                Mit Golt vmbzogn lustig zuschauwn,
                Auch Kehrbürstn für die Kleider lind,
                Auch Börstwüsch für das Haußgesind,
                Auch Bürstn damit man Gläser schwenckt
                Wo die mit unlust wern behenckt.


             The Jeweler (Der Goldtschmid)

                Ich Goldtschmid mach köstliche ding,
                Sigel und gülden petschafft Ring,
                Köstlich geheng und Kleinot rein
                Versetzet mit Edlem gestein,
                Güldin Ketten, Halß und Arm band,
                Scheuren und Becher mancher hand,
                Auch von Silber Schüssel und Schaln,
                Wer mirs gutwillig thut bezaln.

the last indian

by “Newark Muse”

Image: Newark Public Library
Image: Newark Public Library

There stood on the shores of the western sea,
        Where it heaves its awful surge,
A lonely being, who mournfully
        Chaunted his sorrowful dirge.

                “Where are the lands of my tribe,
                        Their hunting lands;
                Where gallantly struggled and died
                        The Indian bands?”

And the breeze of the forest came whistling along–
“The white men have seized them by treachery and wrong.”

                “Where are the graves of my race,
                        Their sacred graves;
                Which the Indian in his bloodiest frays
                        From insult saves?”

And a moaning voice was heard in the air–
“Their graves are profaned, for the white men are there.”

                “Where are the red men gone,
                        The warriors brave?
                For I see not a single one
                        On land or wave.”

And the song of the Indian was heard in the west–
“The white men have slain them, but now they’re at rest,
In the Great Spirit’s land they are free from their foes,
They hunt, and they sport, and in safety repose;
Come–lonely one–come to this happy abode,
And hunt with your fathers, through field and thro’ wood.”

“I come–at the sound of your voices I come,
And sweet is the message that calleth me home.
Farewell–farewell to my native land,
And cursed be the strangers who tread on its sand;
May the curse of a blighted heart be theirs,
And the Spirit of Might turn away from their prayers;
May they go to the grave without arms by their side;
May their tombs be insulted by scorn and by pride;
And at last may they wake in that terrible place,
Where no game can be found to allure to the chase.
I come–at the sound of your voices I come,
And sweet is the message that calleth me home.”

                He gazed on earth, and sea, and air,
                        Then sprang into the wave;
                And the last Indian, gladly, there
                        Embraced a watery grave.

Gutzon Borglum’s sculpture known as “The Indian and the Puritan” was dedicated in 1916. Commemorating the purchase of land along the Passaic on which Newark’s English-speaking settlers would build their town, it includes an inscription noting, “To the north and westward the Indians lingered as if reluctant to depart.”

The above lines appeared in the New-Jersey Eagle on June 6, 1828.


from the graveyard of the First Presbyterian Church

Image: Engraved
Image: Engraved

Death once more has been among us
        Our beloved friend is gone
Who was near and dear unto us
        Thus we’re falling one by one.

–epitaph of William Baldwin, aged 61 years


Lo! on a narrow neck of land
Twixt two unbounded seas we stand
        Yet how insensible!
A point of time–a moment’s space 
Removes us to yon heavenly place
        Or shuts us up in Hell.

–epitaph of William Hughes, aged 24 years


Far from afflictions, toil and care
        The happy soul has fled
The breathless clay shall slumber here
        Among the silent dead.

–epitaph of Catharine Garret, aged 56 years 8 months


So fades the lovely blooming flower
Sweet smiling solace of an hour
So soon our transient comforts fly
And pleasures only bloom to die

–epitaph of Mary W. Hay, aged 3 years 3 months


These verses are taken from a manuscript volume in the New Jersey Historical Society. They were copied in the nineteenth century from gravestones in the burial ground of Newark’s Old First Church, now the site of the Prudential Center.

newark, new jersey

Image: The History of the Newark Sewer System
Image: The History of the Newark Sewer System

On each side of the Passaic stand
The finest factories in the land;
And looming up so tall and grand—
The stately river thereby spanned—
        A railroad bridge.
Back and forth the steam-car goes,
Now and then a whistle blows,
Underneath the water flows
        Down from Orange ridge.

Malaria comes and makes us shiver,
Chills and fever make us quiver,
Brought by winds that blow forever
From the marshes by the river—
        Flowing down to Newark bay.
Spacious streets and handsome parks,
Lit by bright electric sparks,
Under which the watchman harks
        To the drunken fray.

On one side of Broad street stands
A market with the finest brands.
Its stalls display both beef and lambs
And choicest fruits from sunny lands,
        And foreign States.
Up and down the people go,
Buying cabbages and so
Forth—what else we do not know—
        At lowest rates.

By the factories’ smoke veiled,
Laden down with many a bale,
Slide the great canal boats, trailed
By slow donkeys, which, unhailed,
        Leave the great sand-bar.
In the shops the people gaze,
Beauties there their eyes do daze
As they look within the maze
        Of Hahne’s great bazaar.

Many thousand little boys,
Who delight in making noise
When unconsciously we poise,
’Twixt stern reality and the joys
        Of sweet slumber,
Raise their voices shrill and clear,
Fill our startled hearts with fear,
Thinking there are dangers near
        Without number.

Newark, Sept. 3, 1886

Newark’s poor drainage and inadequate sewerage contributed to deadly recurrences of malaria, typhus and cholera. Towards the end of the nineteenth century the city finally confronted these deficiencies and, from only 49 miles of sewers in 1883, expanded the network to 310 miles by 1910. Portions of this system still operate today. The Newark Meadows, condemned as breeding grounds for fever-inducing mosquitoes, were drained and developed into the seaport and airport in the early decades of the twentieth century.

A clipping from the Newark Journal, which published these verses by “a precocious young miss of thirteen summers,” has a handwritten note identifying them as the work of Miss Frances Depue of Newark. The clipping is found in the scrapbook collections of the New Jersey Historical Society.

night musings: two poems

Image: Library of Congress
Image: Library of Congress


Hail, holy night with all thy quietude
And stars. Calmness and gentle rest
Cometh with thee, and thoughts higher
Than Earth’s low confines. I would
Gaze upon the spangles of thy robe,
Pulseless and solemn night,
And wander in my heart to those far climes,
Beyond creation and corruption.
I would forget mortality, forget
The weariness and strife, sickness
And toil of life, and mount afar,
Enjoying brief, yet blissful respite
From pervading memories of faded joys,
Blank hopes, and all the countless
Sicknesses of doomed humanity.

                Take me, my soul,
With wing untired and free,
Far, far beyond those angel watches,
Even higher than the brilliant pavement
Of the sky. Upward mount, nor pause
To fold thy pinions, till, heaven’s portal gained,
I rest secure. There I would pause awhile
And breathe celestial air; there I would
List, and catch the notes of those
Who long have left our sorrow-haunted spot,
To dwell forever near the Throne of God.

                As thus I muse,
My soul will gather strength
To wear a few short years, this weary lot,
To bless, nor question it, the wise decree
Which places me amid a world of blight,
Crushed hearts and desolated homes.

Star-studded firmament, all hail!
Beauty, sublimity and solemn light,
All hail! And sable, dun-clad night
With thy redeeming vestment of fair stars,
And all thy quietude, and spells unutterable–
My soul awakes in thy dominion,
And rejoices in thy reign. Feels less
Her fetters, upward rises, and peers
Through the far-stretching canopy
Of heaven, strains her keen vision–
Catches a glimpse of uncreated day.

Newark, April 3, 1840.



        Some fancy, that the Dead
        No more revisit earth,
As birds return not to the bed,
        That cradled them at birth.

        Forbid to look behind,
        They leave the shores of time,
A melancholy band, to find,
        Like Lot, an unknown clime.

        If there’s a gulf between
        The future world and this,
A Bridge of Sighs must intervene,
        And join them both in bliss.

        Heaven bends its canopy
        T’ embrace the world below;
The tears and smiles of earth and sky
        Blend in one radiant Bow.

         Our spirits sometimes flow
        In an unwonted tide;
From souls in Heaven those currents go,
        By elysian springs supplied.

        At midnight’s solemn chime
        Descend the Spirit Dead,
As once they look’d to me in time
        Ere health and youth had fled.

        And chief among them stands
        One ever-lov’d, and wept,
Who nightly comes from shadowy lands,
        Her dying promise kept.

        O night! what skies, what scenes
        Your portal dark unfolds;
Which blazing day blots out, or screens,
        And only God beholds!

        Within the ocean-shell
        Is heard a murmur low,
That seems of mermaid caves to tell,
        Where groves of coral grow.

        Even so, departed friends
        May feel a lingering love
For earthly homes, which memory blends
        With palaces above.

        Has earth such happiness
        Among her drossy joys,
As souls, communing thus, possess,
        Which time, nor death, destroys?

Newark, Feb. 1845.

Signed “Rosette” and “S. J. G.” respectively, these poems appeared in the Newark Daily Advertiser of April 4, 1840, and February 14, 1845.

two songs for newark academy

Image: Wilson Farrand, A brief history of the Newark Academy
Image: Wilson Farrand, A brief history of the Newark Academy


AMIDST the ranks who try by different ways,
        To purchase honours or to merit praise,
The GOD-LIKE MAN how rare! how few like YOU
        Disinterested paths to fame pursue?
You who lavish’d sums (the fruits of peace)
        To bless the present and succeeding race!
To sing your praise MY infant muse is weak,
        But what SHE cannot, let this fabric speak;
Yet deign t’ accept the tribute of my lay,
        For thanks is all a poet has to pay.
O may your labours with success be crown’d
        And NEWARK still for lit’rature renown’d,
So shall fair science bless our happy land,
        And in fame’s roll, your names immortal stand.


To Thee, most holy and most high,
To Thee we tune our grateful praise;
Thy deeds proclaim a GOD is nigh,
DEEDS of renown and wondr’ous grace!

When doom’d to wear base Slavery’s chain,
Our Land convuls’d, our danger great;
Heav’n rais’d strong Pillars to maintain
Our Liberties in Church and State.

Religion sigh’d, and Learning mourn’d,
Their Temples ruin’d or defac’d;
When God our times in mercy turn’d,
New Temples rear’d, and Schools replac’d.

See Foes abash’d, abase their pride,
And lift no more a tow’ring head;
Lay menac’d plots of Rule aside,
And own their Powers which God hath made.

Pretended claims to Blood or Birth,
Can fix no Despot on our Throne;
God, the wise Sov’reign of the Earth,
To Man, the Rights of Man makes known.

What are the World’s wide Kingdoms, Isles,
And States, but Seats of Tyrant-Sway!
COLUMBIA, where Jehovah smiles,
Shine free–more glorious far than they.

Patriots and Peers support her Cause,
Culture and Arts enrich the Field;
Wisdom inspires our equal Laws,
And free-men pleas’d, obedience yield.

This Day conven’d, Harmonious Bands!
We found a new fair Science’ name;
Hence letter’d Youth, to foreign Lands
Shall sound their Country’s growing Fame!

        To Him whose Temple is all Space,
        Whose Altar, Earth, Sea, Skies!
        One Chorus let all Being raise
        All Nature’s Incense rise!

The first poem was recited – according to the New-York Journal or General Advertiser of January 12, 1775, where it appeared in print – to the trustees of Newark Academy by an unnamed student. The Academy’s original building on the upper commons (later named Washington Park) was burned during the Revolutionary War; it would be twelve years before the school reopened in a new location at Broad and Academy Streets.  The dedication of this structure (shown in the image above) was the occasion for the second piece, a hymn printed in Woods’s Newark Gazette on June 28, 1792.

During its long history the Academy moved two more times in Newark – to High and William Streets in 1857,  and First and Orange Streets in 1929 – before settling at its fifth and current home in suburban Livingston.

the lay of the demon of night

by “Newark Muse”

Image: Pioneers of American Motorcycle Racing
Image: Pioneers of American Motorcycle Racing

        When the wild wind blows
        In its fearful might,
        And the pale moon throws
        But a feeble light:
        When the stars are at rest
        In their homes in the sky,
        And the light clouds haste
        In their swiftness by–
I love on the craggy rock to stand,
And brave the storm with a giant’s hand.

        When the sea-gull screams
        O’er the rolling wave,
        And the sea-lion dreams
        In his lonely cave:
        When the sentinel sleeps
        On his weary post,
        And the wanderer weeps
        For the home he has lost–
I gaze in pride on the world’s darkened mien–
The dreary king of a dreary scene.

        When the dark sea roars
        In its wakened wrath,
        And destruction lowers
        O’er the mariner’s path:
        When the cowardly slave
        Shrinks back in affright,
        And the nobly brave
        Turn away from the sight–
I perch on the top of the sailless mast,
And laugh when the whelming wave has past.

        When the murderer goes,
        At the midnight hour,
        To deal his blows
        With a fiendish power:
        As he leans o’er the bed
        Of his destined prey,
        Who hears not his tread
        And who heeds not his way–
I am there!  I am there!  at his right hand,
I nerve his arm and I speed his brand.

        On the tempest I ride
        On the bounding wave,
        From my island of pride
        Which the north seas lave:
        I hover when death
        And destruction are nigh,
        To hear the last breath
        And to catch the last sigh:
Ye may see me at midnight when the wild blast howls loud,
Abroad in the storm and arrayed in a shroud.

The roar of motorcycle engines was, for a short time, a feature of Sunday afternoons in Vailsburg. The Vailsburg Motordrome, constructed in 1912, was a high-banked, circular wooden racetrack with bleachers on top. It permitted speeds of up to ninety miles per hour. Two months after it opened, a horrific accident killed riders Eddie “Texas Cyclone” Hasha (pictured above), John Albright and six mostly young spectators, bringing motorcycle racing in Newark to an abrupt end. The shuttered Motordrome, damaged by a fire in 1915, was torn down along with the adjacent Electric Park. Vailsburg Park was built in their place.

“The Lay of the Demon of Night” appeared in the weekly New-Jersey Eagle of December 19, 1828.


Image: Michael Lenson


Naiad and nymph in the forest are roaming;
Everglades echo their unearthly tread;
Weird are their songs and their forms in the gloaming;
Answering voices or shades of the dead.
Rudely the Indian ‘neath wigwam and bower
Kneels in submission to Ignorance-power.


Newark is now in the vigor of manhood.
Eye of a Mentor, and brain of a State;
Wielding a sceptre that banishes clanhood,
And makes us all kith, and akin to the great.
Rugged the heights from whose summits this hour
Ken we the vision that Knowledge is power.


        No spot to which we roam,
        Either o’er land or foam,
        Will ever be like home.
        As home is the pole
        Round which love doth roll,
        Keeping steadfast the soul.

The anniversary acrostics, by William J. Marshall, appeared in The Newarker of August 1916. Augustus Watters included the third, by an unknown author, in his small book Poems, printed in Newark in 1892.