Henry Livingston, Jr.

Spring    Summer    Fall    Winter

Yes yes, my swain thy faithful wife will go,
With Thee thru summer's heat, or winter's snow:
Where'er high Heav'n and you point out the way
Nor wish, nor ask, a moment's fond delay.
Clung to thy arm, with brighter scenes in view
I'll catch thy flame & feel thy raptures too!
To that dear cot thy hands have rear'd I'll hie,
Live with my swain & with my swain will die.
Invitation to Remove to a Frontier Settlement


The winter all surly is flown,
The frost, and the ice, and the snow:
The violets already have blown,
Already the daffodils glow.

The forests and copses around,
Their foilage begin to display;
The copses and forests resound
With the music and disport of May.
Invitation to the Country

Tell our boys, that as it is now herring time, they must frequently look at the woods for fear of fire getting in the leaves, especially as the weather is uncommonly dry at this time.

I take it that James will this week get to plowing. His horses must have grain & hay then, by all means. Mr. Ingraham, I hope, can let us have 1/2 a load more & 1 or 2 loads of wood. (You) can procure Indian corn in the stores.

To son Henry Welles, May 1802

SWEET as op'ning roses are
As 'th expanded lilly fair
Blithsome as the breathing day
Smiling as the smiling May
Heav'n itself her feeling mind
Loveliest of the lovely kind
Is my Daphne - sweetest maid
That e'er sported in the glade

When beneath the nodding grove
She inclines to muse or rove
Airs of Eden float around
Flow'rs spontaneous deck the ground
Cupids clap their wings about her
Life itself's not life without her.
To Miss

BLOOMING as the youthful May,
As the brilliant morning gay,
(Loves and graces playing round
Ever where the nymph is found)
Smiling, she a needle drew,
And my sleeve transfixed thro':
Touch'd my arm -- tho' small the smart,
Yet I feel it at my heart.
To Arabella

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As on a summer's fervid day
The youthful Delia slumb'ring lay,
A thousand Cupids fluttered round
The guardians of the hallow'd ground.

Some clustered in her auburn hair
To keep the ringlets wreathed there;
While others form'd a canopy
With wing in wing enlocked on high,
To ward each stragling solar ray
That thro the foliage found a way.
Another party took her breath
Replete with sweetness and with health,
To aid the elegant perfume
Of every charming flow'r in bloom.
The Fly

Our spring drought was severe. with difficulty our corn ground was plowed & we planted. The dryness continued & at length we abandoned all hope of a corn crop. At length, however, the rain descended in copious showers and every green thing felt its genial influence. Indian corn particularly showed its influence. In two words, our corn is called one of the best in the vicinity & bids fair to shoot up above mediocrity.

The clover field (opposite Mr. Allen) was much parched; we mowed it early & had not more than 6 or 7 indifferent loads of hay. We immediately replaster'd it & in about a fortnight shall try it a second time. The 2d culling promises to be far superior to the first. Our flax is pull'd and houses: -- crop, so so. The oats in the meadow will be, say, 40 bushels. Wheat, ab't 130 bushels. Low meadows rather better than usual. Potatoes everywhere promise well. Garden does well.

To son Charles, Aug 1826

'Twas summer when softly the breezes were blowing
And Hudson majestic so sweetly was flowing
The groves rang with music & accents of pleasure
And nature in rapture beat time to the measure
When Helen and Jonas so true and so loving
Along the green lawn were seen arm in arm moving
Sweet daffodils, violets and roses spontaneous
Wherever they wandered sprang up instantaneous. Epithalamium

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Click on image for more autumn pictures

Pray dearest mother if you please
Cut up your double-curded cheese
The oldest of the brotherhood
It's ripe no doubt & nicely good
Your reputation will rise treble
As we the lucious morsel nibble
Praise will flow from each partaker
Both on the morsel and the maker.

Madame J. L.
Your suit is vain, - upon my word
You taste not yet my double-curd:
I know the hour - the very minute
In which I'll plunge my cutteau in it;
Am I to learn of witless bairns
How I must manage my concerns?
As yet the fervid dog-star reigns
And gloomy Virgo holds the reigns
Be quiet chicks - sedate & sober
And house your stomachs till October,
Then for a feast! Upon my word
I'll really cut my double-curd.

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Tho suns shine clear, or tempests growl,
Mild zephyrs fan or whirlwinds howl;
The cold snows fly, or hailstones rattle
And ev'ry element's in battle:

Thro thick and thin and thin and thick
Go flound'ring on poor George and Dick!
Nor care a button for disasters
So you're contented gentle masters.

And now the end of all this clatter
Is but a small and trifling matter;
A puny six pence or a shilling
From willing souls to souls as willing.

And here to you our gen'rous donors
We pledge our sacred words of honours
No valrous rooster by our deed
Shall on the field of battle bleed.

Nor by our too-well-aimed ball
The hapless, flutt'ring turkey fall:
No deep-charged muskets thund'ring roar
Beneath the peaceful burghers door,

Shall tell the sleeping folks within
That mighty New Year doth begin.
Like civil (chubs) we will retire
And by a snug and social fire

With cakes of season on the board
Collected from each housewife's hoard
We'll push the glass of mead about
And laugh the tedious ev'ning out.
A New Year's address of Richard and George

All hail to the season so jovial and gay,
More grateful to News-Boys than blossoms of May,
Than Summer's green gown, or Miss Autumn's brocade
Bespangled with gold and with diamonds o'erlaid;
Give me surly winter, bald-headed and bare,
Cold nights, frosty mornings and keen piercing air,
With storms roaring round him; rain, hail, sleet and snow,
While hoarse from the mountains the howling winds blow;
For Summer and Autumn and fair-bosom'd Spring,
With their pinks and their peaches no holidays bring;
But now comes blithe Christmas, while just in his rear
Advances our saint, jolly, laughing, New-Year,
Which, time immemorial, to us has been made
The source of our wealth and support of our trade.
The News-Boy's Address

The winter of 1780 I will remember was savage in the extreme. This of 1820 is not very dissimilar. For 5 weeks past the cold has been steady (but no so intense as that of 1780) & the snow now in the woods is 2 feet: sleighing superb from Hudsons bay to the city of New york. Snowing began between Christmas & New year.

Notwithstanding the snow, the ground is quite dry: Many wells fail in water & the lesser mills are shut up -- The Hudson is frozen down to the bay. Thousands of small fish are taken by gilling in small square nets: Charlie knows how.

To grandson Sidney Breese, Jan 1820

But hark what a clatter! the Jolly bells ringing,
The lads and the lasses so jovially singing,
Tis New-Years they shout and then haul me along
In the midst of their merry-make Juvenile throng;
But I burst from their grasp: unforgetful of duty
To first pay obeisence to wisdom and Beauty,
My conscience and int'rest unite to command it,
And you, my kind PATRONS, deserve & demand it.
-On your patience to trespass no longer I dare,
So bowing, I wish you a HAPPY NEW YEAR.
The Carrier of the Poughkeepsie Journal

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