Today, Rhind’s masterpiece unveil’d, we feel A sense of olden time. Light horsemen ride On Jersey roads, and sleepless foemen hide In ambush. Everywhere the flash of steel.
The age of romance backward turns again, The din of modern traffic dies away; Once more we tribute to a hero pay, And cease awhile our wonted quest of gain.
Yon horseman in heroic bronze, who stands So nobly pois’d beside his pawing steed, Is Washington, who, in his country’s need, Rode many weary leagues through many lands.
‘Twas chill November when, in brave retreat, He pass’d this ancient common long ago; November brings him back again, but lo, A victor, ever rais’d above defeat!
Thus stood he by his charger when at last He paus’d his troops to wish a fond farewell: Then, homeward mounting, rode away to dwell In peace, with all alarms of battle past.
Thus may he stand forever in our street, Ready to mount and ride in our defence; Or win us back with silent eloquence To nobler tasks, and daily lives more sweet.
This poem’s fourth and fifth stanzas recall the desperate early months of the American rebellion and its successful conclusion: the retreat of George Washington’s army across New Jersey, with a four-day encampment in Newark in November 1776, and Washington’s farewell address to his troops in November 1783, upon resigning his command.
Clergyman and historian Joseph Fulford Folsom read these lines on November 2, 1912, at the unveiling of J. Massey Rhind’s bronze statue of a dismounted General Washington, which stands at the south end of Washington Park.
At morn she rises early, as a busy city should That spends the hours of daylight in the game of “Making Good.” Across the misty meadows she watches for the sun, For worlds of work are waiting, and there’s wonders to be done. She takes a bit of breakfast, she dons her gingham frock, Then sits before her keyboard, with her eyes upon the clock; And when the hands point seven, then loud and joyfully She plays her morning anthem on her steam calliope.
From Belleville down to Waverly, from Bloomfield to the Bay, She fills the morn with music as her chimes and sirens play. The piping trebles start the song, the tenors catch her air, The altos add their mellow notes, the brassy bassos blare; Their thousand voices blend at last in one great living chord Of toil and usefulness and peace—a sound to please the Lord! Listen, O music lovers; was ever heard, think ye, A nobler tune than Newark’s on her steam calliope?
Now dawns a mighty era in the tale of her career, Now golden comes the sunrise of a new and glorious year; And, just as in the old days, her morning sirens call, “Up! Rouse you up, my children! There is happiness for all!” Yes, at this New Year’s advent her whistles fill the morn As sound of heralds’ trumpets when a new world-king is born; And the magic of her music shall set the thousands free Who follow to the calling of her steam calliope!
Leonard Harmon Robbins was a contributor to the Newark Evening News, where many of his poems first appeared. The Newarker published this piece in its January 1916 edition, marking the beginning of the 250th anniversary year. It was reprinted in 1917 in The Newark Anniversary Poems.
He touched our lives with gentleness and hope, The hope that Newark would be a better place; He gave a model of inclusiveness, Of knowing black and white and high and low.
The strength he had is what we must employ In treating poverty, disease, mistrust, and hate, The love he had we’ll nurture everywhere To make our living worthy of his gift.
The kindness of a man as big as he (As big of soul as he was big of frame) Is what we must extend to each and all While joining hands to make our forward move.
We loved him as the brother that he was, We’ll miss him from our gatherings about; Our city and our hearts know he was here, And will remember in the years to come.
Timothy Still, a former Golden Gloves boxing champion, turned his commanding physical and personal presence to grassroots organizing in Newark’s Central Ward. He co-founded and led the Hayes Homes Tenants Association, and was president of the United Community Corporation, the city’s official community action agency in the mid-1960s. Upon his sudden death of a heart attack at age 48, the city observed a weeklong period of mourning. In 1970 the Schoolmen’s Club dedicated a plaque to Still’s memory in the Central Ward’s Quitman Street School; the inscription hailed him as “a shining example to light the way to a better Newark.”
Alma Flagg’s tribute is taken from her 1979 collection Lines and Colors.
Syncopation. Innovation. Celebration. Brick city beats . . . Jazz music blaring in my head. Sitting stageside. Mr. Wes, the Terrace Ballroom . . . Places where the spirits of Sarah and other greats lived and rang true. Shoo be doo be doo. Singers & musicians making magic out of tragic pasts. Enough to last more than three lifetimes. Playing sounds sweeter than ripened fruit on a vine. Ivory keys inviting. Hi-hats hissing. Upright basses boasting . . . We are jazz. We are jazz.
Mr. Wes on Hill Street was one of countless nightspots to be found in Newark from the 1920s to the 1960s, when the city seemed to boast “a jazz club on every other corner.” A 2013 mural on Hawthorne Street pays tribute to this rich history.
Sonya Kimble-Ellis teaches art and writing and is an author of books for children and teens. “We Are Jazz” appears here for the first time.
Sunset on the hills; with dark below, The wooded slopes. The evening glow Blinds where the river-flood runs wide, Lifts pink and pearl from the other side; And the woods run down to the splendid stain Of the river-brim to live again.
One lone canoe drifts idly by With the sure stroke sweeping back fitfully, Presaging portents dire and black From the tangled reaches of Hackensack.
The slopes stand bare on the darker side Where the clearing spreads, brave, clean and wide, And the timbers pile in close redoubt Near where the home-lights twinkle out.
The new post held, the new vows sworn In the old, old faith—and the town is born.
How the spirit kindles, how greatly goes Thro’ urgent years, the Passaic knows.
A flame thro’ the whole great countryside. The spirit carries as the news runs wide, Unhurried news of wind and tide— A feathered prow passes the wharf’s long bar Where the crowded masts of the shipping are— Of orders coming from oversea, Of imposts levied wrongfully, Of tribute demanded of loyalty.
Lo, patriot, rebel and mutineer; Muster of sloop and privateer; And, deaf to the urge of amity, To the arts and crafts of diplomacy, It is “Tyranny—tyranny—tyranny!”
How the spirit blazes, how greatly goes Thro’ troubled years, the Passaic knows; Grappling the issue with immortal peers, O little town of one hundred years!
The dying roar of artillery. A nation, torn, in her agony; One nation, smiling in her agony.
The long grey lines have all swung south, Worn, proud, unbroken. From river-mouth, From inlet, from roadstead, the boats go by. One flag flies in the freedman’s sky. Blue lines passing, mute and worn have come Home to the peace of the north hills—home.
The shipping crowds the lower bay. New duties call—the greater play Of Love’s great heart of forgivingness; Wrongs that Right must needs redress; And civic growth and righteousness.
How the spirit carries, how greatly go The earnest years, we and the Passaic know; Scanning the stars, blood of elder seers, O city of two hundred years!
Sheeted gas flaring down the hard-fought field, Gouts of white lead, tuns of bursting steel, Chaos of shells. The thunders sound Fainter thro’ caverns deep underground Where the trenches hold. Time’s conquests fall, Smashed back and back with each interval. It is hell gone mad; nor shift of grace Rallies the hurt cry of helplessness.
Merciful seas cool the hurts that drown; Unarmed non-combatants homeward bound, Liner and transport going down.
And For wanton display of efficiency, For craven insistence of urgency, There is “Butchery!” “Butchery!” “Butchery!”
World-thunders threaten down untrod ways, Banners are flying thro’ anxious days. How the years shall carry the spirit’s spell Down abysmal years, the years will tell.
O city of visions memorial, Back thro’ the years, perennial, Or dark or light— How the common tongue Swung glib the name of Washington, Knew Talleyrand, spoke LaFayette; Cornwallis spits anathema yet!
The nation born, the common mass Knew royalty, saw statesmen pass; Guessed trouble brewed, applauded France, Appraised the heir of circumstance.
Now the nation grown past her infancy, Argued of party, of polity; Or suspicion scotched into bitter hate— Delinquency made desperate— Answered Lincoln and measured Lee Where Gettysburg grappled with destiny.
You, too, have seen in a larger dawn A world-empire wheel up San Juan, Break into foam as the seas spurt red Were it Sampson or Schley or Dewey led. Now world-thunders threaten down untrod ways, Banners are flying thro’ anxious days.
City of visions memorial, Back thro’ the years perennial; You who have heard with your ships at sea, The rattle and roar of artillery; Who have heard in the thunders, north or south, Your heroes named by the cannon’s mouth; Name now your glorious company, And name the glorious company That Peace has linked with liberty.
City of visions! What dreams shall glow, Shall live, the Passaic may not know Where just beyond, the future dips To the nations’ dream-apocalypse, O city of vision, whose spirit steers Thro’ fifty and two hundred years!
Elizabeth Sewell Hill was a Chicago-based educator. While it is probable that “Newark” was written for the poetry competition held in 1916, any impression it made on the judges is not recorded.
Hill included the piece in her 1917 collection Western Waters, and Other Poems.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Here in a pleasant wilderness, Thy children, Lord, abide, And turn to Thee with thankfulness in this November-tide. Almighty God, Thy goodness grows More seemly, as Thou dost expose Thy purpose to our wondering eyes, Led hitherward by Thee.
Here by Passaak’s gentle flow our humble homes we rear; Unchafed by want, unsought by woe, we have no cause for fear. The painted savage peaceful prowls, The lurking wolf unheeded growls; With steadfastness we hold our way Uplifted, Lord, by Thee.
With pious zeal our task we took, and soon the virgin soil By coppice edge, by whimpering brook, hath blest our sober toil. Our log-built homes are filled with store From fruitful field, from wood and shore; Our hearts are filled with tuneful joy, With thankful hymns to Thee.
Frank Urquhart wished to convey the spirit of the early Puritan settlers with these verses, taken from his Short History of Newark.