Here you will find the Long Poem A Ballad Of The Boston Tea-Party of poet Oliver Wendell Holmes
Read at a meeting of the Massachusetts Historical Society. No! never such a draught was poured Since Hebe served with nectar The bright Olympians and their Lord, Her over-kind protector,-- Since Father Noah squeezed the grape And took to such behaving As would have shamed our grandsire ape Before the days of shaving,-- No! ne'er was mingled such a draught In palace, hall, or arbor, As freemen brewed and tyrants quaffed That night in Boston Harbor! The Western war-cloud's crimson stained The Thames, the Clyde, the Shannon; Full many a six-foot grenadier The flattened grass had measured, And many a mother many a year Her tearful memories treasured; Fast spread the tempest's darkening pall, The mighty realms were troubled, The storm broke loose, but first of all The Boston teapot bubbled! An evening party,--only that, No formal invitation, No gold-laced coat, no stiff cravat, No feast in contemplation, No silk-robed dames, no fiddling band, No flowers, no songs, no dancing,-- A tribe of red men, axe in hand,-- Behold the guests advancing! How fast the stragglers join the throng, From stall and workshop gathered! The lively barber skips along And leaves a chin half-lathered; The smith has flung his hammer down, The horseshoe still is glowing; The truant tapster at the Crown Has left a beer-cask flowing; The cooper's boys have dropped the adze, And trot behind their master; Up run the tarry ship-yard lads,-- The crowd is hurrying faster,-- Out from the Millpond's purlieus gush The streams of white-faced millers, And down their slippery alleys rush The lusty young Fort-Hillers-- The ropewalk lends its 'prentice crew,-- The tories seize the omen: 'Ay, boys, you'll soon have work to do For England's rebel foemen, 'King Hancock,' Adams, and their gang, That fire the mob with treason,-- When these we shoot and those we hang The town will come to reason.' On--on to where the tea-ships ride! And now their ranks are forming,-- A rush, and up the Dartmouth's side The Mohawk band is swarming! See the fierce natives! What a glimpse Of paint and fur and feather, As all at once the full-grown imps Light on the deck together! A scarf the pigtail's secret keeps, A blanket hides the breeches,-- And out the cursed cargo leaps, And overboard it pitches! O woman, at the evening board So gracious, sweet, and purring, So happy while the tea is poured, So blest while spoons are stirring, What martyr can compare with thee, The mother, wife, or daughter, That night, instead of best Bohea, Condemned to milk and water! Ah, little dreams the quiet dame Who plies with' rock and spindle The patient flax, how great a flame Yon little spark shall kindle! The lurid morning shall reveal A fire no king can smother Where British flint and Boston steel Have clashed against each other! Old charters shrivel in its track, His Worship's bench has crumbled, It climbs and clasps the union-jack, Its blazoned pomp is humbled, The flags go down on land and sea Like corn before the reapers; So burned the fire that brewed the tea That Boston served her keepers! The waves that wrought a century's wreck Have rolled o'er whig and tory; The Mohawks on the Dartmouth's deck Still live in song and story; The waters in the rebel bay Have kept the tea-leaf savor; Our old North-Enders in their spray Still taste a Hyson flavor; And Freedom's teacup still o'erflows With ever fresh libations, To cheat of slumber all her foes And cheer the wakening nations.