summer’s end

by Leonard Harmon Robbins

Image via

                To A. E. B. M.

Hushed are the birds that lately thrilled
        The morning world with melody.
At eventide their songs are stilled—
        What can this woodland silence be?

High in a hammock, zephyr-swung,
        Low in a locust’s thorny bough,
Deep in a dell, the reeds among,
        The birds have better business now.

Let summer end, and o’er the hill
        The sylvan chorus sounds again;
Robin and thrush and bluebird trill
        This message to the hearts of men:

“Though April hopes be memories,
        ‘Tis small content regret can give.
Put grieving by! Enough it is
        To live and love, to love and live.”

The verse of Nebraska-born Leonard Harmon Robbins appeared regularly in the Newark News between 1901 and 1917. These lines are from his collection Jersey Jingles published in 1907.

the all-summer celebration

by William J. Lampton

Image: Duke University Libraries
Image: Duke University Libraries

Now every day in Newark
        Is a whooptedooden day.
And every soul in Newark
        Seems to rather like that way,
For it keeps the circulation
        Circulating, and the blood,
Mixing with the clay of humans,
        Makes a living, lusty mud,
Which is bound to be so fertile
        That for years and years to come
The growth of coming Newark
        Puts all rivals on the bum,
And the Newark of the future
        Is going to be so great
That New Jersey of the future
        Will be changed to Newark State.

Newark’s Feigenspan brewery advertised on buildings and billboards across the state and the region, branding its wares “P. O. N.” for “Pride of Newark.”  Giant illuminated letters shone from its buildings in the Ironbound even while the plant was shuttered during Prohibition, taken later as proof “that hope burned eternal in the brewer’s breast.” (New Jersey. A guide to its present and past)

Colonel Bill Lampton’s lines appeared in the June 1916 issue of The Newarker, and were reprinted the following year in The Newark Anniversary Poems.


by Frederick H. Pilch


In the long days pleasant gloaming,
        ‘Twixt the sun and stars,
When the soul would fain go roaming
        Free from mortal bars;
Gentle night winds stir the roses,
As the door of daylight closes
        In the Western sky;
And the shades of dusk fall thickly,
As oblivion gathers quickly
        Over men who die;
Tunefully the streamlet’s tinkle
        In the leafy grove–
Tallies with the rhythmic twinkle
        Of the orbs above.


Distant drowsy bells are telling
        Midnight on the air,
Denizens of field and dwelling
        Slumber everywhere;
Troops of shadows flee to cover,
As the smiling moon peeps over
        Each umbrageous hill;
And amid its lustrous glimmer
Dusky woodland aisles grow dimmer,
        And more silent still;
Rills and rivers smile unwrinkled
        By the slightest breeze,
While the foliage droops unsprinkled
        On the dusty trees.


Crickets chirp and birds are singing
        At the break of day,
While the lavish sun is flinging
        Streams of tints away;
Busy farmers, brown and burly,
Haste to labor, bright and early,
        Ere the day be clear;
Making hillside echoes chatter
With the loudly rattling clatter
        Of the reaping gear;
While the gleeful children ramble
        ‘Mid the orchards cool,
Or with laughter splash and gamble
        In some quiet pool.

Image: Digital Commonwealth
Image: Digital Commonwealth

In 1882 Frederick Pilch, a Newark attorney, published Homespun Verses, a compilation of mostly seasonal poetry sampled here.

a dream

by Elizabeth Clementine Kinney

Image: Denise Ippolito
Image: Denise Ippolito

‘Twas summer, and the spot a cool retreat–
Where curious eyes came not, nor footstep rude
Disturbed the lovers’ chosen solitude:
Beneath an oak there was a mossy seat,
Where we reclined, while birds above us wooed
Their mates in songs voluptuously sweet.
A limpid brook went murmuring by our feet,
And all conspired to urge the tender mood.
Methought I touched the streamlet with a flower,
When from its bosom sprang a fountain clear,
Falling again in the translucent shower,
Which made more green each blade of grass appear:
“This stream’s thy heart,” I said; “Love’s touch alone
Can change it to the fount which maketh green my own.”

Part of a circle of expatriate artists and writers that included fellow poets Robert and Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Kinney penned verses and essays from Italy for the Newark Daily Advertiser, of which her husband was the founding publisher. She returned to Newark after the Civil War.

“A Dream” is from the volume Poems, published in 1867.

summer afternoon

by Louis Ginsberg

Image: Newark Public Library via The Star-Ledger
Image: Newark Public Library via The Star-Ledger

The sky pours gold, raining in a shower
        Fluid sunlight down to flood each street,
Deluging all the world in the hot noon hour,
        Till the teeming city simmers with the heat!

Sunlight spills along the allies and the byways;
        All the air is crowded with scents upon the breeze;
Sunlight inundates the busy marts and highways;
        While pale gold light is shaken from the trees!

Radiant with gold are passing girlish faces–
        Radiant gold of sunlight which drenches and clings!
Streets drink brightness and blaze to flaring places;
        And round a hurdy-gurdy, children dance rings.

Popular poet and Newark native Louis Ginsberg published this in his 1920 collection The Attic of the Past and Other Lyrics.

hot city night

by Louis Ginsberg

Image: Noah K. Murray/The Star-Ledger
Image: Noah K. Murray/The Star-Ledger

The dank and sulky tenements
        Are wilting weary with the heat;
While from the doorways, children spill
        And clot the humid, huddled street.
The pools of faces flood the stoops
        And dribble into every space,
Until this packed humanity
        Seethes like a vat in every place!
The sallow mothers with their babes;
        The playing, sprawling children there;
The flaccid moldy aged men;
        The boys with their disheveled hair–
This weltering humanity
        Is saturated with the heat
That wedges into every crack,
        Pressing and beating on the street!
But while a hurdy-gurdy trolls,
        A sentimental tinsel tune;
And cars are droning down the tracks;
        And weary pallid mothers croon,
In every eye, a flare or gleam
Reveals the sea-shore in a dream!

This poem was part of Louis Ginsberg’s 1920 collection The Attic of the Past and Other Lyrics.

summer begins

by Richard Watson Gilder

Image: Branch Brook Park Alliance
Image: Branch Brook Park Alliance

The bright sun has been hid so long,–
        Such endless rains, such clouds and glooms!
But now, as with a burst of song,
        The happy Summer morning blooms.

The brooks are full, it is their youth;
        No hint of shrunken age have they;
They shout like children, and in truth,
        No human child so careless-gay.

How fresh the woods, each separate leaf
        Is shining in the joyful sun.
Strange! I have half forgotten grief;
        I think that life has just begun.

In the 1860s Richard Watson Gilder worked as a correspondent and editor of the Newark Daily Advertiser. He frequently took charge of the selection and, sometimes, composition of poetry for its front pages. He went on to co-found the Newark Morning Register in 1869.

The lines above are taken from Gilder’s 1901 collection Poems and Inscriptions.