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The Dance

Major Henry Livingston Jr. 1748 (Poughkeepsie, Province of New York) – 1828 (Poughkeepsie, New York)

Take the name of the swain, a forlorn witless elf
Who was chang'd to a flow'r for admiring himself.
A part deem'd essential in each lady's dress
With what maidens cry when they wish to say yes.
A lullabye carriage, soft, cozy and light
With the name of the Poet who sang on the night.

The queen of Cairo, all lovely and winning
Whose blandishments ever kept Antony grinning.
The flow'r whose odors unremittingly please:
With the glory of forests, the king of the trees.
To the prince of the fairies, a jealous old knave,
Put the name of the tree that undid Mother Eve.
To finish the whole, add that period of day
When the linnet and thrush to repose hie away.

The initials of these, if adjusted with care.
Will show you the fairest where thousands are fair.
The sweet, pretty graces still hover about her
And Cupid would die with vexation without her.
When she swims in the dance or wherever she goes
She's crowded by witlings, plain-fellows, and beaux
Who throng at her elbow and tread on her toes.

If a pin or a hankerchief happen to fall
To seize on the prise fills with uproar the ball;
Such pulling and hawling & shoving & pushing
As rivals the racket of 'key and the cushion;'
And happy- thrice happy! too happy! the swain
Who can replace the pin or bandana again.

Tho the fellows surround & so humbly adore her
The girls on the contrary cannot endure her;
Her beauty their beauty forever disgraces
And her sweeter face still eclipses their faces-
For no lov'ly girl can a lov'ly girl bear
And fair ones are ever at war with the fair.

(Nancy Crooke)

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Submitted on May 13, 2011

1:29 min read
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Major Henry Livingston Jr.

Henry Beekman Livingston Jr. has been proposed as being the uncredited author of the poem A Visit from St. Nicholas, more popularly known (after its first line) as The Night Before Christmas. more…

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