It is eight o'clock of night, and the pallid frosty light
Of the winter moon streams down on each thoroughfare and square,
And the mantle of the snow, on roof and portico,
Is gleaming, far and wide, in the gaslight's steady glare.
The streets are all ablaze, in the avenue's thronging ways,
And Broadway, with its lights, is dazzling to behold,
So the people stay their tread, to behold the wonders spread
In the windows, with their treasures of silks and gems and gold.
See how the human tide pours through the portals wide,
Where theatre and music-hall, with tempting shows invite;
See how they endless pour thro' the hospitable door
Of grand saloon and great hotel, one flood of blazing light.
The city clock strikes ten, and now the tides of men
Are ebbing, ebbing fast, with fainter, fainter flow,
But up a noble Square, there is flash and dazzling glare,
Where grind of wheel and hoof of steel disturb the winter snow.
A stately mansion, broad and high, illumes the dusky sky
With spouting jets and blazing lamps and windows all aflame,
For the grand ancestral hall is brilliant with the ball,
With the glitter of gay dresses of damsel and of dame.
The corridors and parlors are bright as in the day,
With chandelier and lustre, and wax-lights red and white,
Like grotto of the fairy-land when some enchanter's wand
Fills all the crystal caverns with illumination bright.
Around the gilded walls the streaming radiance falls
On statues and on paintings, all miracles of art,
The banquet hall is gay with bewildering display,
And the rosy bloom of flowers pervades its every part.
What loveliness, what grace, what charms of form and face
Entrance the sense, as o'er the floor the whirling dancers fly!
A sweet blonde here with golden hair and brow as lily fair,
And there a gay brunette with eyes like stars of sky.
Rare music with its chime, its melodies sublime
Enchants the air, delights the ear, and speeds the dancers' feet;
The swift waltz swifter grows, and the polka faster flows
And the mazes of the Lancers are evermore more fleet.
So the rosy moments haste where youth and beauty taste
The intoxicating draughts in pleasure's cup that swim,
Until the streak of dawn, until the flush of morn
Steal in to quench the lights and make the pageant dim.