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.

newark settlers’ thanksgiving hymn

by Frank J. Urquhart

Image: Michael Lenson
Image: Michael Lenson

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.

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.

open house

by Margaret Tsuda

Image: Integrity House
Image: Integrity House

The house is

(To Integrity
young men/women
free-willed but anxious
off the streets
own desire for
speed  pot  junk.)

The bright-faced
youngsters who
welcome us to
their Open House
show us
proudly how
they have
redeemed discards
dingy rooms with
bright paint
earnest sweat

admire ingenuity
neatness and order
to a rock combo
sample a
home-baked cake.
My mind
goes back
to an alley by a movie theatre
I used to pass on my
way to work early mornings.
Four junkies
three men and a woman
met there to wait
to wait shivering
        for a fix.
They were gaunt
unbelievably gaunt
sucked dry
like the pale
skins of cockroaches in a
neglected cupboard.

The quietly pleasant
young man who
has been showing us
presses my hand
Thank you for coming.”

My eyes are
tight and hot
with tears.
For that instant
my hope for him
burns as fiercely as
his own must have.

For almost half a century Newark’s Integrity House has facilitated recovery from substance abuse and addiction, making its home in the Lincoln Park neighborhood. Integrity House was only a few years old when Margaret Tsuda paid a visit and wrote this poem, published in her 1972 collection Cry Love Aloud.

dream pictures

by Edward S. Rankin

Image: Lee Gallery
Image: Lee Gallery

Before an open fire I dozed and dreamed;
        The light from shaded lamps was soft and low,
And in the burning coals strange pictures seemed
        To form and change and vanish in the glow.

I looked upon a range of hills, their summits tinged
        With early dawn; while at their feet the forest slept.
Beyond, a river wound, its lower reaches fringed
        With meadows green.  No sign of life I saw except
Where near a brook, within the sheltering wood,
A little group of Indian wigwams stood.

The picture changed—the sun had risen now—and where
        The deerskin wigwams once had stood a village lay.
Men stern of face and clad in sober garb were there,
        Who calmly faced the task of each recurring day.
The morning sunlight bathed in radiant flood
The rude log church, the temple of their God.

Again a change—the sun rode high—and now before
        Me lay a city stretching far and wide, and through
Its busy streets went hurrying throngs, and more and more
        It spread, until its limits passed beyond my view.
And over all the scene the purple haze
From smoking chimneys told of prosperous days.

High noon—but now the glowing coals began to fade,
        I dimly saw the hillsides clothed with homes of men,
Broad avenues, and parks where happy children played,
        While all the lowlands teemed with industry.  And then
The ashes paled, but in their dying gleams
I glimpsed the future city of our dreams.

Edward S. Rankin served the city of Newark as Chief Engineer of Sewers and Drainage from 1903 to 1945. With his consummate knowledge of the city’s topography and hydrography he produced two books, Indian Trails and City Streets (1927) and The Running Brooks, and Other Sketches of Early Newark (1930).

“Dream Pictures” was composed in 1926 for Founders’ Day, May 21, and first printed in the Newark Sunday Call on May 23.

“don’t knock here nomore ’cause i done voted”

by Betty H. Neals


Election Day, Newark, N.J., June 16, 1970

We went on foot
and in cars,
in hallways and bars
calling the people to vote.

In one building
a knotted string tied to a card
hung on the door:

        “Don’t knock here nomore
        ’cause I done voted!
        Yes, voted for the 1-A team,
        don’t want to lose this loaded dream.
        Let’s clear the air
        ’bout whether Black folks can unite.’

        “Don’t knock here nomore
        ’cause I done voted.
        Since early morning
        workers came to see to that.
        Marched us down to the voting poll
        and said, ‘Let’s try once more with Soul!’
        Let’s clear the air
        ’bout whether Black folks can unite.

        “Don’t knock here nomore
        ’cause I done voted.”
        This knotted string tied to
        a card hung on the door.
        “Our people have the spirit now,
        Gon’ let nobody turn us ‘roun’
        Let’s clear the air
        ’bout whether Black folks can unite.”

Defeating incumbent Hugh Addonizio in a runoff election, Kenneth Gibson became the first African American mayor of a large northeastern city. Through daunting social, economic and political challenges, Gibson would serve four consecutive terms as Newark’s mayor.

Betty Neals’s portrayal of the historic 1970 vote was published in her collection Spirit Weaving.


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.