HOW IT ONCE WAS.
Right stout and strong the worthy burghers stood,
Or rather, sat,
Drank beer in plenty, ate abundant food;
For they to ancient customs still were true,
And smoked, and smoked, because they surely knew
What they were at.
William the Testy ruled New Amsterdam,--
A tall man he,--
Whose rule was meant by him to be no sham,
ut rather like the stern paternal style
That sways the city now. He made the while
A rough decree.
He ordered that the pipes should cease to smoke,
From that day on.
The people took the order as a joke;
They did not think, who smoked from childhood up,
That one man such delight would seek to stop,
Even in fun.
But when at last it dawned upon their minds
That this was meant,
They closed their houses, shut their window blinds,
Brought forth tobacco from their ample hoard,
And to the governor's house with one accord
The burghers went.
They carried chairs, and sat without a word
Before his porch,
And smoked, and smoked, and not a sound was heard,
Till Kieft came forth to take the morning air,
With speech that would have burned them then and there
If words could scorch.
But they, however savagely he spoke,
Made no reply.
Higher and thicker rose the clouds of smoke,
And Kieft, perceiving that they would be free
Tried not to put in force his harsh decree,
But let it die.
_New York Sun_.