View Full Version : "Peter Stuyvesant" [1592 - 1682], by Rosemary and Stephen Vincent Benet

Wednesday, January 26th, 2005, 02:59 PM
"What, never seen Nieuw Amsterdam?
That grieves me to the core!
You should have visited the place
In sixteen-sixty-four,
A tidy, little, red-roofed town
With tulip-pots aglow,
And ruled by Peter Stuyvesant
With his famous timber toe.

'Twas all as Dutch as Dutch could be,
Except for dykes and ditches.
The plump Dutch chickens laid Dutch eggs
Among the Dutchman's-breeches,
Even the babies talked in Dutch,
For Dutch was all they knew,
And there walked Peter Stuyvesant
(One leg was wooden, too).

His farm was called the Bouwerie
And there he kept his cow,
Because he was the Governor
(He couldn't do it now).
And he was proud as anything
Of his New Netherlands.
(He had, it's true, a wooden limb,
But it had silver bands.)

And all the ruddy-faced mijnheers,
And all the neat mevrouws
Would greet their peppery overlord
With genuine Dutch bows.
They liked him for his sturdy pith,
Although he had his whims.
(And then, they liked a governor
With two such different limbs.)

So, when the English fleet sailed in,
One bright September day,
And said 'We've come with fife and drum
To take your town away.'
He stamped and jumped and swore and thumped,
But could not make them run.
(You cannot pit a wooden leg
Against a naval gun.)

But still he kept his Bouwerie
And would his schnapps uncork,
Although they took Nieuw Amsterdam
And changed it to New York.
And to the last his wooden leg
Would hurt him very much
When he would think about the day
That really beat the Dutch."