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For The Centennial Dinner Of The Proprietors Of Boston Pier
by [?]


FOR THE CENTENNIAL DINNER OF THE PROPRIETORS OF BOSTON PIER, OR THE LONG WHARF
APRIL 16, 1873

DEAR friends, we are strangers; we never before
Have suspected what love to each other we bore;
But each of us all to his neighbor is dear,
Whose heart has a throb for our time-honored pier.

As I look on each brother proprietor’s face,
I could open my arms in a loving embrace;
What wonder that feelings, undreamed of so long,
Should burst all at once in a blossom of song!

While I turn my fond glance on the monarch of piers,
Whose throne has stood firm through his eightscore of years,
My thought travels backward and reaches the day
When they drove the first pile on the edge of the bay.

See! The joiner, the shipwright, the smith from his forge,
The redcoat, who shoulders his gun for King George,
The shopman, the ‘prentice, the boys from the lane,
The parson, the doctor with gold-headed cane,

Come trooping down King Street, where now may be seen
The pulleys and ropes of a mighty machine;
The weight rises slowly; it drops with a thud;
And, to! the great timber sinks deep in the mud!

They are gone, the stout craftsmen that hammered the piles,
And the square-toed old boys in the three-cornered tiles;
The breeches, the buckles, have faded from view,
And the parson’s white wig and the ribbon-tied queue.

The redcoats have vanished; the last grenadier
Stepped into the boat from the end of our pier;
They found that our hills were not easy to climb,
And the order came, “Countermarch, double-quick time!”

They are gone, friend and foe,–anchored fast at the pier,
Whence no vessel brings back its pale passengers here;
But our wharf, like a lily, still floats on the flood,
Its breast in the sunshine, its roots in the mud.

Who–who that has loved it so long and so well–
The flower of his birthright would barter or sell?
No: pride of the bay, while its ripples shall run,
You shall pass, as an heirloom, from father to son!

Let me part with the acres my grandfather bought,
With the bonds that my uncle’s kind legacy brought,
With my bank-shares,–old “Union,” whose ten per cent stock
Stands stiff through the storms as the Eddystone rock;

With my rights (or my wrongs) in the “Erie,”–alas!
With my claims on the mournful and “Mutual Mass.;”
With my “Phil. Wil. and Balt.,” with my “C. B. and Q.;”
But I never, no never, will sell out of you.

We drink to thy past and thy future to-day,
Strong right arm of Boston, stretched out o’er the bay.
May the winds waft the wealth of all nations to thee,
And thy dividends flow like the waves of the sea!