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

Middle States: Philadelphia, Pa.

Pewter Platter Alley

By Philip Freneau (1752–1832)

FROM Christ-Church graves, across the way,

A dismal, horrid place is found,

Where rushing winds exert their sway,

And Greenland winter chills the ground:

No blossoms there are seen to bloom,

No sun pervades the dreary gloom!

The people of that stormy place

In penance for some ancient crime

Are held in a too narrow space,

Like those beyond the bounds of time,

Who, darkened still, perceive no day,

While seasons waste and moons decay.

Cold as the shade that wraps them round,

This icy region prompts our fear;

And he who treads this frozen ground

Shall curse the chance that brought him here,—

The slippery mass predicts his fate,

A broken arm, a wounded pate.

When August sheds his sultry beam,

May Celia never find this place,

Nor see, upon the clouded stream,

The fading summer in her face;

And may I ne’er discover there

The gray that mingles with my hair.

The watchman sad, whose drowsy call

Proclaims the hour forever fled,

Avoids this path to Pluto’s hall;

For who would wish to wake the dead!—

Still let them sleep,—it is no crime,—

They pay no tax to know the time.

No coaches hence, in glittering pride,

Convey their freight to take the air;

No gods nor heroes here reside,

Nor powdered beau, nor lady fair,—

All, all to warmer regions flee,

And leave these glooms to Towne and me.