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

Middle States: New York, the City, N. Y.

Nieuw Amsterdam

By Edmund Clarence Stedman (1833–1908)

(From Peter Stuyvesant’s New Year’s Call)

WHERE nowadays the Battery lies,

New York had just begun,

A new-born babe, to rub its eyes,

In Sixteen Sixty-One.

They christened it Nieuw Amsterdam,

Those burghers grave and stately,

And so, with schnapps and smoke and psalm,

Lived out their lives sedately.

Two windmills topped their wooden wall,

On Stadthuys gazing down,

On fort, and cabbage-plots, and all

The quaintly gabled town;

These flapped their wings and shifted backs,

As ancient scrolls determine,

To scare the savage Hackensacks,

Paumanks, and other vermin.

At night the loyal settlers lay

Betwixt their feather-beds;

In hose and breeches walked by day,

And smoked, and wagged their heads.

No changeful fashions came from France,

The vrouwleins to bewilder;

No broad-brimmed burgher spent for pants

His every other guilder.

In petticoats of linsey-red,

And jackets neatly kept,

The vrouws their knitting-needles sped

And deftly spun and swept.

Few modern-school flirtations there

Set wheels of scandal trundling,

But youths and maidens did their share

Of staid, old-fashioned bundling.