Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
America: Vols. XXV–XXIX. 1876–79.

Middle States: Monmouth, N. J.


By Edmund Clarence Stedman (1833–1908)

(From Alice of Monmouth)

LADIES, in silks and laces,

Lunching with lips agleam,

Know you aught of the places

Yielding such fruit and cream?

South from your harbor-islands

Glisten the Monmouth hills;

There are the ocean highlands,

Lowland meadows and rills,

Berries in field and garden,

Trees with their fruitage low,

Maidens (asking your pardon)

Handsome as cities show.

Know you that, night and morning,

A beautiful water-fay,

Covered with strange adorning,

Crosses your rippling bay?

Her sides are white and sparkling;

She whistles to the shore;

Behind, her hair is darkling,

And the waters part before.

Lightly the waves she measures

Up to the wharves of the town;

There, unlading her treasures,

Lovingly puts them down.

Come with me, ladies; cluster

Here on the western pier;

Look at her jewels’ lustre,

Changed with the changing year!

First of the months to woo her,

June his strawberries flings

Over her garniture,

Bringing her exquisite things;

Rifling his richest casket;

Handing her, everywhere,

Garnets in crate and basket;

Knowing she soon will wear

Blackberry jet and lava,

Raspberries ruby-red,

Trinkets that August gave her,

Over her toilet spread.

After such gifts have faded,

Then the peaches are seen,—

Coral and ivory braided,

Fit for an Indian queen.

And September will send her,

Proud of his wealth, and bold,

Melons glowing in splendor,

Emeralds set with gold.

So she glides to the Narrows,

Where the forts are astir:

Her speed is a shining arrow’s!

Guns are silent for her.

So she glides to the ringing

Bells of the belfried town,

Kissing the wharves, and flinging

All of her jewels down.

Whence she gathers her riches,

Ladies, now would you see?

Leaving your city niches,

Wander awhile with me.