Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Jesse Harding Pomeroy's A Boston Brew of Tea Sir!


Of ’seventy-three the tale we sing,
That famous brew whose taste did sting:
The deed on winter’s night was done, Sir.
A noble pot to make our brew
From Boston port the waves to strew.
And Johnny Bull
Did drink his full,
For relish to his taste, Sir!

The monarch proud of England’s shore,
Thought tax on tea was pence in store:
But soon his tone was changed, Sir.
For Yankees bold will pay no tax,
Where principles are found too lax:
King George did taste
And made a face,
That never yet was straight, Sir!

Not all the strength of English might,
Nor coming years in fame so bright,
Could wash his mouth of tea, Sir.
It shook his nerve as never yet,
Into his pate new ideas let:
J. B. may strive
On pence to thrive:—
We served his, piping hot, Sir!

From small beginnings much may come:—
Across the years we view their sum.
Our stamps were not for George, Sir.
Our gallant sires undaunted were,
In fight for Freedom sweet and pure.
For Johnny Bull,
Could pull no wool,
Across the Yankee’s eyes, Sir!

Their noble fame to us e’er brings
A trust and hope wroth more than kings;
A quenchless flame to guard, Sir.
In courage tried our Temples rear,
With mem’ries true to shield from fear,
Fail we do not,
(Nor rights forgot)
To twist the Lion’s tail, sir!

That brand of tea should now be named,
For spicey flavor justly famed:—
The Hub’s exclusive brew, Sir.
Pekoe, Hyson, Bohea, Oolong,
May find some praise in other song.
But for its vim,
And snap so grim,
Gundpower be its name, Sir!


— Jesse Harding Pomeroy


Steeped in history and folklore, the Boston Tea Party took place on this day in 1773. The author of this poem, Jesse Harding Pomeroy (1859-1932), comes with his own mythology. Convicted of murder at the age of 14 he was sentenced to a life of solitary confinement. Pomeroy had served more than 40 years of confinement when this poem was written and published in 1916. He would die in a prison hospital in 1932.