Henry Livingston, Jr.
Henry Livingston's Poetry

A Rebus

TAKE a city once founded on Victory's field,
Where Philip's great son compell'd Porus to yield;
A chieftan of Thebes, for his valour renown'd,
Who fell like a Mercer with victory crown'd;
The Norman who seiz'd on Britannia's domains,
Defeated her king, and assumed the reins;
The name that the monarchs of Peru once bore,
Whom their subjects rever'd, and as Gods did adore;
The subtle young Theban, who quickly disclos'd
The perplexing enigma that Sphinx had propos'd;
The King who, when Israel's wife monarch was dead,
Assum'd the tiara, and reign'd in his stead;
And a river in Asia, where splendidly rise
The walls of fair Tesslis, that rear to the skies.

The initials of these will discover the name
Of a rich growing town, not unnotic'd by Fame;
By whose walls the bold Hudson with majesty pours,
And floats down the wealth that enriches its shores;
Where Commerce rolls on, with her thousand loud wheels,
And Trade a bright harvest of affluence yields.
There steals not a tide, nor ere whispers a gale,
But wafts in her harbour the white floating sail,
Which conveys the fair gifts that kind nature imparts,
And all the bright treasures produc'd by the arts.

Hail! daughter of Commerce, Columbia's fair pride,
Where Freedom, and Science, and Friendship reside;
Where kind Hospitality opens the door,
And welcomes the stranger that visits her shore;
Where Philanthropy warms and ennobles the heart,
And Charity hastens her aid to impart:
Where Knowledge and Wisdom their empire maintain,
And Beauty and Virtue triumphantly reign.

The sons of the East, where proud tyrants oppress,
Shall here find a refuge secure from distress;
Inspir'd by fair Freedom, their aid they shall lend,
Her turrets to rear, and her walls to extend.

What transports extatic the bosom assail,
When Fancy uplifts dark Futurity's veil,
And views this fair regent encircling more ground
Than Babylon's turrets did ever surround;
See Art and fair Science new wonders unfold,
Magnificent temples emblazon'd with gold;
Sees myriads of freemen exult in her streets,
And her bay and her rivers all cover'd with fleets!

Old Carthage and Tyre, the proud Queens of the main,
Shall here find a Queen that will river their fame,
Whose fleets seas now traverse, and hear oceans roar,
Which Tyre, Rome, and Carthage, ne'er dar'd to explore.

As years shall increase, so her glory shall rise!
Her fame and her praise shall resound to the skies,
'Till ages on ages revolving are past,
'Till the joys of Millenium no longer shall last,
'Till the unballanc'd spheres from their orbits shall run,
And with flames all envelop'd rush into the sun!
Sept. 13, 1791.                                      A.B.

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Solution to the Rebus, page 540

ON the banks of Hydaspes Nicara was built,
By the son of great Philip, renown'd;
Epaminondas expir'd like Mercer the brave,
With the wealth of bright victory crown'd.

To the crown of king Harold bold William laid claim,
And invaded Britannia's fair shore;
The kings of Peru were by millions rever'd,
And the title of Yncas they bore.

The riddle of Sphinx was by Oedipus solv'd,
Rehoboam over Israel did reign;
Fair Tisslis adorns the gay banks of the Kur,
That enriches the Georgian plain.

Now join these initials, and soon will appear
NEW-YORK, not unnotic'd by Fame;
On the shores of the West, th' emporium of trade,
And in time the fair queen of the main.

Yes, here the bold Hudson, with majesty flows,
Its banks with gay foliage o'erspread,
Proud Thames and old Tiber would drown in its wave,
And wide Danube might roll in its bed.

New-York! oh! blest Peace still reside in her walls,
Here genius of Freedom remain,
Philanthropy, warm, still ennoble the heart,
And, oh! Virtue triumphantly reign.

Fair Science, go on, still allure with thy charms,
And cherish the emulous flame,
Direct our brave youth, who to glory aspire,
And pant for the plaudits of Fame.

When they enter thy portals, then point to the wall,
And say, "You who pant with desire,
"Here a JAY and a HAMILTON courted my charms,"
And the names their young bosoms shall fire.

O teach them the blessings of Freedom to prize,
And to die in defence of their laws;
Let them know how their fathers most valiantly fought,
And bled in fair Liberty's cause.

New-York! may curs'd Faction ne'er brood in thy walls;
May Luxury never prevail,
May sordid Corruption be banish'd thy shore,
And Justice well balance her scale.

If her sons will resolve to be virtuous and free,
Her name and her praise shall resound
Till Fame's silver trumpet shall crumble to dust,
And Time bring her sane to the ground.
    New-York, October 11, 1791.


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