Henry Livingston, Jr.
Henry Livingston's Poetry

A Rebus      1786

Take the name of the swain a forlorn
    witless elf
N arcissus
Who was chang'd to a flow'r for
    admiring himself.
A part deem'd essential in each lady's dress:A pron
With what maidens cry, when they wish
    to say yes.
N o
A lullabye carriage soft cozy & light:C radle
With the name of the poet who sang
    on the night.

Y oung
The queen of Cairo, all lovely and winningC leopatra
Whose blandishments ever kept
    Antony grinning.
The flow'r whose odours unremittingly please:R ose
With the glory of forests, the king of the trees.O ak
To the prince of the fairies, a jealous old knave,O beron
Put the name of the tree that undid mother Eve.K nowledge
To finish the whole add that period of day,E ve
When the linnet & thrush to repose hie away.

The initials of these, if adjusted with care,
Will show you the fairest where thousands are fair.
The sweet, pretty graces still hover about her,
And Cupid would die with vexation without her.

When she swims in the dance or wherever she goes
She's crowded by witlings, plain-fellows & beaux
Who throng at her elbow & tread on her toes.

If a pin or a hankerchief happen to fall
To seize on the prise fills with uproar the hall:
Such pulling and hawling & shoving & pushing
As rivals the racket of 'key & the cushion;'
And happy- thrice happy! too happy! the swain
Who can replace the pin or bandana again.

Tho the fellows surround & so humbly adore her
The girls on the contrary cannot endure her;
Her beauty their beauty forever disgraces
And her sweeter face still eclipses their faces.
For no lov'ly girl can a lov'ly girl bear
And fair-ones are ever at war with the fair.

View in Manuscript Book

Historical Background

Doorways of Dutchess County, Helen Wilkinson Reynolds, 1931.



Nancy Crooke (1768-1856) was the sister of John Crooke, who married Henry Livingston's first cousin, Cornelia Livingston, the daughter of Robert Gilbert Livingston, Jr. and the greatgranddaughter of Gilbert Livingston.

John Crooke

John and his sister Nancy moved to Poughkeepsie when they were small and grew up there. Their brother Charles died as a young adult having just bought a home in Poughkeepsie.

"Nancy Crooke married when she was nineteen and the event was recorded in the Country Journal, published at Poughkeepsie on April 25, 1787, in these words:"

"On the 17th inst. was married at New York Colonel William Barber, Commissioner of Army Accounts for this State, to the amiable Miss Nancy Crooke of this place, a young lady possest of every accomplishment to render the bands of matrimony agreeable."

Nancy Crooke Marriage

Colonel Barber ... "distinguished himself at Yorktown under LaFayette".

Following Colonel Barber's death, Nancy married an Englishman, William Broom. Financial reverses in 1823 made them leave their Crum Elbow home and Nancy was made a widow again in 1830.


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