Tuesday, February 12, 2013

1873- Memphis by J.A.F.

It seems that even in 1873 the Memphis city streets were the bane of its citizens and were the inspiration for this poem.

Memphis Daily Appeal
September 13 1873

MEMPHIS
----
The City in Doggerel--What she is and May be.
----

Memphis is a goodly place, her people live and
and active,
And many things a stranger sees are really 
attractive;
Indeed, to me it really seems a matter quite 
surprising
To see the people of our place so very
enterprising.
The busy hum upon our streets, the 
never-ceasing rumble
Of drays and hacks and carriages as o'er our
streets they tumble.
Steamboats puffing at the wharf, railway
trains arriving,
Plainly tells the pleasing tale of Memphis rich 
and thriving.
Court square is a charming spot, a very gem
of beauty,
Always kept in perfect trim by one who does
his duty.
Let other cities vainly boast of parks far more
extensive,
Yet for simple beauty, for comfort and for
grace,
Court square'll compare most favorably with 
any other place.
But should you tire of spiral walks, green grass
and shady trees,
Just walk with me a square or two, and snuff 
the morning breeze.
Out on the bluffs; your heart will surely 
quiver
As you behold at one broad view the 
Mississippi river.
Below, behold! a busy scene--drays and 
wagons rumbling
On the flagstones of the wharf, and bales of 
cotton tumbling;
Bacon, flour, hay and corn--huge piles of
merchandise--
Indeed, we have a busy scene that strikes one
with surprise.
As to Memphis merchants-but give them
their just dues--
You'll find them live and active, of broad and 
liberal views,
Ever ready, willing, and competent, withal.
To do the business offered, be it large or small.
As to legal gentlemen, of course we have our
share,
(I believe you'll find them plentiful almost
everywhere).
You'll find a few among them deep in legal 
learning--
Men of wit and genius, analytical and 
discerning.
While others, through ambition, to great
deeds oft aspire,
Who are not blest with brains enough to set a 
world on fire.
The medical profession has within its ranks
Some who for the good they do well deserve
our thanks;
Yet, justice to these better men, and as I deal 
in facts,
Demands that I should mention here we have 
our share of quacks.
Every system is represented, the ancient
allipathic,
The eclectic and the water-cure, the doubtful
homeopathic.
I take it as unfortunate, these numerous
varied views,
Out of which a man when sick his M.D. he 
must choose.
Our churches and our schools, asylums and 
such like,
Our hotels and theaters, our Poplar street 
pike--
In these and many other things our people
justly feel
An honest pride, and prouder still of our
staunch Appeal.
I do not know its editors, yet one thing's very 
plain--
They are men of Thorough culture and well-
developed brain;
And Memphis's growth is certain as long as she is blessed
By having published in her midst the journal
of the west.
One thing more, before I close, I should like to 
mention,
And to our city fathers I'd simple say--
attention!
Our pavement, once our pride, is now far on 
the way,
From neglect or other cause, to remediless 
decay.
Those rugged, rough and ragged holes encountered
everywhere,
Breaking our backs and buggy-wheels, would 
make an angel swear.
Now, if you wish more marriages, 
less fighting and less swearing,
Proceed without delay this pavement to
repairing.
                                                                                           By J.A.F.

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