Founded in 1909 in the front hall of the historic Saint George Tucker House with 50 volumes, the library grew and relocated many times. It began serving James City County residents in 1926. The Williamsburg Library moved to its present location in 1973 with about 12,000 volumes and was first expanded there in 1981. The Williamsburg Regional Library was created by contract between the City of Williamsburg and James City County as an independent agency in 1977.
The Clarence Webb's Grocery, Blayton Hospital, The Triangle Restaurant, Thomas Wise's Barbershop, and Charles Gary's West End Valent Dry Cleaning Shop was once located in what we now refer to as The Triangle Building.
Charles Gary's West End Valet Dry Cleaning Shop- circ.1950s. Owner Charles Gary with Inez Churchill in foreground, James Cumber in background.
Webb's Grocery - "Sold everything from Kerosine to tootsies. He offered Credit, he cashed checks. He did everything. He was a one store."- Mr. Braxton. Photo circ. late 1940s-1950s
The First Baptist Church of Williamsburg was organized in 1776, with a quest by a group of courageous slaves and free blacks who wanted to worship God in their own way. First led by Rev. Moses, a free black itinerant preacher. The African Baptist Church, as it became known before the Civil War, dedicated a new brick church near the carriage house on Nassau Street in 1856, the congregation's church home for the next 100 years. In 1863, the church was renamed the First Baptist Church of Williamsburg. The present church at 727 Scotland Street has served the congregation since 1956.
Once known as the Business Block, The Craft House was the A&P Grocery Store. Fat Canary was the Douglas Bakery. The Cheese Shop was the String Fellow Electric Corp.
On the next block, Wythe Candy was the Candy Kitchen. The Carousel and Chicos was once the College Pharmacy. Kimball Theater was the Williamsburg Theater, previously the Imperial Theater.
Originally known as the Arcade Building and home to the Williamsburg Post Office. Next to it sits the Williamsburg Drug Company, also known as Rexall's Drug. Photograph dated December 4, 1930.
Currently the building is home to La Piazza, The Christmas Shop, Dog Street Pub & The Spice and Tea Exchange.
View of the South side of the Duke of Gloucester Street, 1928, show before the Business Block, now Merchants Square. The Imperial Theater, Candy Kitchen, Norfolk Restaurant, and other shops. At the end of the street is The Wren building at the College of William & Mary.
Colonial Williamsburg's Business Block in 1931. The Christmas Tree Shop & The Spice & Tea Exchange was originally known as the Arcade Building and home to the Williamsburg Post Office. A Navy Recruiting Station sign sits on the sidewalk out front across from a mail box.
View of the South side of the Duke of Gloucester Street. After renovations, the Imperial Theater was changed to the Williamsburg Theater. All the old buildings featured in the photo directly below right after the Theater were reconstructed to what they look like today.
Illy, Brick & Vine, R. Bryant, The Williamsburg Winery Tasting Room, and Precious Gem still standing strong and true in buildings that did not go through much change structurally.
The Christmas Shop and The Spice and Tea Exchange were once a Post Office. La Piazza was Rexall's Drug Store. Dog Street Pub was once a bank.
Lululemon was Casey's Department Store.
R. Bryant, Traditional Apparel for Gentleman, was once the home of a Billards Hall.
The Carousel’s children’s clothes are not only clothes, but also family mementos that customers pass down through generations. Opened in 1991 by Margaret and Marty, this mother-daughter business has thrived for 31 years on DoG street. After looking for two years at the space they’re currently in, the founders of The Carousel decided to open and fulfill the community’s need for a children’s clothing store. Little did the community know The Carousel would go above and beyond becoming a staple in Williamsburg life.
This family business knows how to provide for other families, and does so through what they know best - clothes. With high-quality, long-lasting children’s clothes, as well as accessories and toys, The Carousel is the place to go for your birthday outfit or to create a family tradition of buying a special holiday outfit for years to come. As a local business, they appreciate your support they hope to keep up this tradition for many more years to come!
Around 25 years ago, Ralph and Gina Youngs were visiting their relatives in the area when they decided that it was time to forge a new opportunity for themselves. They packed their bags and left Chicago to join the tight-knit community of Williamsburg. Ralph and Gina for as long as they could remember wanted to become small business owners. When they arrived in Williamsburg, the opportunity arose for them to become the owners of Baskin Robbins that was moving to the area and decided to take the responsibility and live out their dream. Ever since
then, Baskin Robbins and the Youngs have brought smiles and delicious flavors to Downtown!
Ralph and Gina’s favorite part about running Baskin Robbins is the interactions that they get to create with their customers and employees. Typically, the Youngs hire William and Mary students and high schoolers of the area and give them the opportunity to experience some of their first jobs and learn the appreciation for working for such an amazing company. No matter what, Baskin Robbins wants to be the place where you can celebrate your successes, the place to cheer yourself up from a rough day, or just the place to satiate your hunger. The Young want to sharethat they appreciate all of the support they have received from the CW Foundation, their tenants of Merchants Square, and the people that continue to support and grow Baskin Robbins!
Sole Provisions understands that the perfect shoes can change your whole day. This all-purpose store is your one-stop shop for any type of shoe you need, for any occasion. Store manager, Angie Arch, describes her work as selling the experience of comfort. She loves that her job brings her the ability to help people, and describes her work as “bringing the ground up to the foot”. Sole Provisions will create the most comfortable experience for you that will work in any environment you travel to.
Individual help is the key to Sole Provisions’ fantastic fittings. Each customer is met with one-on-one professional service to ensure maximum satisfaction. The store offers many styles and sizes. Pop in for a quick, individualized fit for your new favorite pair of walking shoes to enjoy Downtown Williamsburg to the fullest!
Danforth Pewter has a selection of the finest handmade items, from jewelry, to ornaments and oil lamps. Judi and Fred Danforth bought the business in 2013 and have been a staple in the Merchant Square community since, as have their 8 other businesses in their respective locations across the country.
Laura Morris, store manager of Danforth Pewter, has been working in the same location for 25 years. She started when the store was called Shirley Pewter and is an expert in the business. Laura emphasizes that most things in the store are handmade in the United States by 20 workers in a foundry in Vermont. Since most everything is handmade, it ensures customers get the finest quality items. The one-of-a-kind oil lamps are the only truly one-of-a-kind item that is sold.
The store has a wide range of items to explore. You can find bigger pieces such as candlesticks, frames and bowls, a variety of candles, or the perfect gift for any family member or friend. Support the craft of handmade items and visit Danforth Pewter to buy a unique gift that will last a lifetime.
The Shoe Attic
The Shoe Attic has a dazzling array of shoes, clothes and accessories catered towards helping customers find their personality through style. Owner Brittany Rolston has always loved experimenting with fashion and the newest trends. Before opening her store she earned her degree at George Mason University in theater and dance, giving her years of experience bringing together color and theatrics to match others’ styles. She then worked in one retail store before realizing her love for style could be transformed into a business.
An expert in all things shoes, Rolston opened The Shoe Attic in Downtown Williamsburg in 2012 to bring a collection of whimsical, high-quality fashion products to the community. She settled here because she loves the many groups of people, whether it be artisans, history buffs, or college students, that all come together to appreciate everything the town has to offer. Her customers are her favorite part of her job. Rolston loves providing personalized styling experiences unique to each client’s tastes, and encourages Williamsburg locals and visitors to come in at any time for a unique styling experience.
The Spice & Tea Exchange
Before managing The Spice and Tea Exchange of Williamsburg, Heather Hubert was working in healthcare as a mom to three daughters. With the lack of flexibility in the healthcare business, Heather made the life-changing decision to quit her job and focus on finding a career in the entrepreneurial world where she could manage her time to be the mother to both a business and her daughters. Heather went through a weight loss journey and on her adventure, she discovered the key to making healthier food with the gluttonous southern taste is through spices! She revamped cooking skills to recreate recipes and discover new spices to capture the same flavors of the foods she loved! When the opportunity arose for her to own The Spice and Tea Exchange of Williamsburg, there was no hesitation for her to jump on the opportunity! In November 2020, The Spice and Tea Exchange of Williamsburg moved from their place in Prince George Street to where they currently reside on Duke of Gloucester, to be in the hotspot of Downtown. The business knew that traffic and revenue would greatly increase with the location change so they jumped on the property quickly. Heather is proud of the inclusive workspace that she and her staff have created. The Spice and Tea Exchange of Williamsburg values the connections they have established with customers and expresses gratitude for the support that Downtown has given them. This is the place for spices, teas, and friendly faces.
J. McLaughlin provides a wide selection of classic, high-quality clothing items at affordable prices. Started by the McLaughlin brothers in Brooklyn, NY, the apparel franchise expanded into Williamsburg last year to bring wearable clothes from a trusted business into the downtown area. The J. McLaughlin team includes assistant manager Patricia Cooper, who had experience working with Williams and Sonoma and Brooks Brothers in the area before coming to J. McLaughlin. The staff has a personal connection to Downtown Williamsburg, Cooper says, and views local residents and guests as the most important part of the business.
The store offers customers complimentary drinks as they browse clothing selections both in-store and from the online catalog. Each member of the staff provides personal assistance to guests and brings a unique perspective to the J. McLaughlin team. They are available for every customer and create a comfortable environment that allows for all shoppers to connect with their products and the greater Downtown Williamsburg area. The J. McLaughlin team thanks Williamsburg residents and William and Mary families for their continued support, and welcomes everyone to come in for a personal shopping experience.
William & Harry
William and Harry have provided a luxury men’s retail experience like no other. As soon as you walk through the doors, your eyes are mesmerized by the organization, colors, patterns, and qualities of each garment. Scott Castleberry, operator of the men’s retail store, was encouraged to take over this space in Merchant’s Square due to the amount of traffic this area gets. No matter if you have just walked around Downtown for twenty minutes, there is no doubt that your journey began in the heart of Merchant’s Square and made its way down Duke of Gloucester Street. Castleberry, with his many years of experience, wanted to improve the lack of men’s clothing stores in the area by gracing Downtown with its presence. Castleberry’s favorite part of managing William and Harry is that he gets to work for himself. He values the art of having control over his vision for what a men’s retail store should look like and what markets he can dive into. Castleberry and the team of William & Harry have redefined what men’s retail should be. William & Harry want the people of Williamsburg to know that their shop is here and would appreciate customers and other shop owners through word of mouth to encourage others to visit their store!
R. Bryant, Ltd.
R. Bryant: History and tradition are two of the most important values to R. Bryant. Since Rockefeller redeveloped Downtown Williamsburg, the site where R. Bryant is now has always been a men’s clothing store. When the previous store Frazier-Graves owner decided to retire and was closing his store, Rusty Bryant who was managing Beecroft a men's clothing store across the street, wanted to set up in the new space, with the blessing of Colonial Williamsburg, he opened R Bryant in 1982, right in the heart of Merchant’s Square. Owner of the store Jamie Lavin and Bill Jordan day to day Operations Manager, want the people of Williamsburg to know that they respect and honor the histories of the stores before them at their site! When it comes to growing up, a suit is something that every man eventually acquires whether it's for prom or a job interview. It is a long-standing tradition that many men look forward to in their life. R. Bryant thrives off of the community and wishes to give all of their supporters the gift of having tradition in their lives through their clothing. The employees and customers view the team at R. Bryant to be an extension of family. Bill Jordan said that his favorite part of working there has been the interaction with people of all walks of life and getting to connect with them. Experience the luxury of what R. Bryant is and get to connect with the people who work there!
Shaheen, Ruth, Martin & Fonville Real Estate
John Martin, one of the Broker/Owners of the firm, has opened up a great new office in Colonial Williamsburg on Duke of Gloucester steps from The College of William & Mary. Being a part of a real estate family from Newport News, John has always wanted to have a boutique Real Estate office at Merchant’s Square, which made this location the company’s 5th office. Growing up less than 30 minutes away from Downtown Williamsburg, John wanted nothing more than to be a part of a close-knit community and collaborate with the other local businesses to create a cozy atmosphere for all those who visit. The second you enter the office, each customer is welcomed to a great mural of Zable Stadium from the College of William and Mary, displaying the company’s pride in its community and efforts to create a comfortable meeting space.
Better than anyone, John understands that selling and buying homes are big financial steps. Shaheen, Ruth, Martin & Fonville is a local Virginia based firm with 185 agents in the overall footprint, which covers all areas between Williamsburg, Richmond and Irvington. Our company understand that buying and selling a home is a big investment and we don't take that lightly. Understanding the process and coaching our clients is key. As a broker, John says there is no greater feeling than someone closing on a house. Shaheen, Ruth, Martin & Fonville Real Estate is the perfect place for friendly, supportive assistance through the next greatest adventure of your life!
Prince George Street
This picture is of West End Market. This market replaced the Hitchens Store on Duke of Gloucester Street as businesses were displaced to make room for the restoration of Colonial Williamsburg. The original store was located where the reconstructed James Anderson House sits today. The new store was named "West End Market" as it faced the West End of the town. The market closed around 1970. The next tenant was Miller's and later Massey's Camera shop which operated there for 40 years. To the left of the market was the original location of Binn's Fashion Shop. After Binn's, it was the Von duBell studio where generations of Williamsburg brides had their portraits done. It then became The Flower Cupboard, which was in that location for 46 years!
Retro's Good Eats
Ihsan Korkmaz spent his career working for prized French restaurants until he was given the opportunity to become head chef at Retro’s Good Eats. He formerly owned Pear French Bistro in Newport News, and when Retro’s was looking for someone to take over, he understood Williamsburg would not be the same without it. Ihsan wants customers to know that Retro’s is more than a hotdog and hamburger place- it is not a fast food place. Retro’s is home to the best crab cake and lamb burger in Virginia! Ihsan prides himself on how Retro’s Good Eats continuously supports the community. No matter what time of day, if the line is out the door they guarantee that within 15 minutes you will receive your food and be delighted with the experience. Furthermore, Ihsan is a stickler for making sure that every meal is consistent with the one prior and latter to it. He ensures that each bite tastes just like it did a week, a month, or even a year ago. The food of Retro’s Good Eats is packed full of flavor, and more importantly, love and care. Once a month, Ihsan hosts a fine dining experience for the first 40 customers to make a reservation. Here he and his staff transform the building into a formal setting, create a wine pairing list, and provide exquisite meals such as tuna tartar or stuffed chicken with couscous. The goals of Ihsan and Retro’s was to provide tourists and the people of Williamsburg with the optimal place to receive amazing meals and company.
Betsy Shonka-Owens, the owner of Nurtured Notion, has a love for design that is clear the moment you step through her door. From her past as a designer at Ethan Allen, to breaking away to decorate living rooms solely based on referrals and refurbishing used products, to her current space on at 205 South Boundary Street Williamsburg, Ms. Shonka-Owens’ soul is evident in every corner of her store. She moved to Williamsburg in 1999 by drawing it out of a hate among four other destinations. She loves her space in Downtown, saying that very few places feel the same on the outside as they do on the inside, but this is one of them.
Anyone, she says, can decorate a beautiful room. The difference between decorating and designing is the incorporation of the new with the old in design. This is Betsy’s expertise, and each piece in her store rings true with her statement. From furniture to garden supplies and gifts, Nurtured Notion has home decor items for everyone. Betsy loves helping both Williamsburg locals and visitors, and her energy creates a comforting atmosphere from the moment you walk in, encouraging you to take your time until you find just the right thing.
Ryan Eure Designs
Ryan Eure Designs has exquisite hand-made jewelry that you can’t find anywhere else. Ryan studied ceramics and sculpture before going on to work with gemstones and jewelry. Before opening his own business he gained valuable experience as a traveling artist, where he traveled up and down the east coast selling his pieces. After the pandemic Ryan settled his business in Downtown Colonial Williamsburg, where he grew up, to pursue his dream of selling his personal designs in his own store.
Making jewelry has always been exciting for Ryan. He emphasizes the importance of finding something that is fun, but also pushes you to grow. The attention to detail in his designs are sure proof of his talent and dedication. Along with an upstairs jewelry gallery, Ryan Eure Designs also has a downstairs space that displays art for sale from seven local fine artists, and a collection of costume jewelry whose proceeds go towards charity. Ryan’s gallery is the perfect place to look for unique, high quality pieces for your loved ones.
Sweet Tea Boutique
Looking for the perfect gift? Want the most personalized version of customer service? Well look no further because the Sweet Tea Boutique of Williamsburg is where it's at! Tina Crowe, owner of Sweet Tea Boutique and a Williamsburg native, opened this beautiful boutique eight years ago originally in the Newtown area. Inspired by her father’s convenience store that she grew up in, Tina wanted to continue the family love for retail and run her own business. At the peak of COVID, Tina was graced with the opportunity three years ago to move the boutique to
Downtown Williamsburg and pounced on the opportunity. She wanted her business to be in the heart of Williamsburg. In a connected web of families, tourists, and beautiful experiences for all. This southern boutique now blossoms in its busy, happy community. The Sweet Tea Boutique values the time and experience of their customers. From the moment you walk in the beautiful trinkets and clothes catch your eye; however, the warm southern hospitality is what keeps you coming back for more. Sweet Tea Boutique describes their company to be customer-focused. Whether it is hand-delivering gifts to nearby customers, decorating gift bags in the prettiest bows, or asking “What can I do for you,” Tina and her team
are committed to interacting with each of their customers at a personal level. One special thing about the products is that about 60% are made by women and their small businesses, and Tina herself hand selects all of the products. The Sweet Tea Boutique is the perfect place for supporting women and their small businesses, obtaining the best level of customer service, and searching for precious gifts.
Fife and Drum Inn
Looking to fully immerse yourself in the Colonial Williamsburg experience? Look no further because the Fife and Drum Inn is the perfect place to stay for a complete package of history and comfort. Owners of the inn, Billy and Sharon Scruggs, are long-term Williamsburg residents who take great pride in their local business. As soon as you walk into the inn, you can see the attention to detail that Billy and Sharon have intentionally put into each piece of decoration and furniture. The Inn was designed to celebrate the 20th century restoration of Williamsburg and its history. Billy and Sharon want the people of Williamsburg and those visiting here to understand that Prince George Street is home to an assortment of small local businesses, many serving multiple generations of locals. Each shop and merchant on the street work with one another to promote each of their businesses as much as possible. Rather than go to a chain, support the unique businesses of Prince George Street and gather an experience of staying, dining, and shopping like no other. Their favorite part about owning the inn are the people that they have had the pleasure to get to know through their ventures- whether it be who they have worked with or who they have had stay in their beloved inn. The number one priority of Fife and Drum Inn is to support visitors to Williamsburg by providing the ultimate experience of historical hospitality.
Ben Munson’s boutique real estate office, the Memorie Group, is the perfect place to go for trustworthy and personal real estate services. Real estate has been in Ben’s blood since childhood, when he would help his mom, Memorie Munson, with her real estate business and learn about money management, creating wealth, and the value of serving clients with integrity. Years later, Ben launched his own brokerage office that prioritizes organic connections with customers to form relationships through generations. Small and professional, Memorie Group wants to be the trusted advisor for your residential and commercial real estate endeavors.
Ben’s lifestyle business has a unique boutique brokerage storefront in Colonial Williamsburg. He describes this part of town as “iconically Williamsburg” and loves meeting visitors and locals through having a physical store. Memorie Group has open houses 1-5pm during the Second Sundays street festivals, where anyone can come inside and ask questions. It also hosts Santa’s workshop during the holiday season, bringing the magic of Christmas to countless children. Ben is committed to his business and the Williamsburg community for the long haul. His door is open any time and he would love to meet you and help you accomplish your residential or commercial real estate goals.
Ricky Myers, Williamsburg Chase Branch Manager, is ready to offer the people of Williamsburg excellent financial planning and client-focused service! New to the area, Chase is excited to be there for you with all of your financial needs. Ricky has spent his role at Chase coaching his staff and developing new connections with clients to truly create a safe, comfortable environment for all of those who enter. As one of the largest banks, Chase has expanded greatly into markets and furthered its reputation for being a go-to bank in the area! Ricky and his team at Chase want the people of Williamsburg to know that when you bank with them, you are not banking with Chase- but the people who work there. Every member of their staff wants to foster long-term relationships with their clients, to be there for them as not only a mentor but as a person they can trust. As a new member of the neighborhood, Chase is committed to providing free financial education to anyone who walks through its doors. The Williamsburg team encourages everyone stop by for a free financial checkup. The lovely team at Chase in Downtown Williamsburg are ready to support the community and offer the best services that anyone could ask for! Chase is significantly expanding throughout Virginia and expects to open 140 branches across Virginia, D.C. and Maryland by the end of 2025. Chase currently has two branches in Williamsburg and will have a total of ten branches in Hampton Roads by the end of 2025.
David Lam, one of the owners of Oishii, is ready to introduce new and delicious Japanese cuisine to the people of Downtown Williamsburg. David grew up in a family of restaurant owners and was surrounded by cooking his entire life. After he graduated college, David scouted the Williamsburg scene to combine his passion for cooking and natural talent for crafting recipes into establishing an experimental kitchen that would expose residents and tourists to ramen, hibachi, and sushi. With the location, David wanted someplace that was in the heart of Williamsburg and close to the college of William and Mary because from his experience, he knows college kids are always willing to ditch the dining halls for something new and close to the school! Oishii was intended to spread diversity of asian cuisine to the Williamsburg area and popularize famous Japanese dishes. From the decor and smell of the restaurant, anyone who walks in is enamored by the tasty and creative meals. David intended for the menu to be condensed in order to consistently take off and add new items to keep Oishii constantly appealing to every taste a customer could want to try! David wants everyone to know that not only for Oishii but for many businesses in Williamsburg, the pandemic greatly impacted operations and staffing. He wants everyone to know that they are always looking to find hardworking and dedicated chefs and employees to join the Oishii family and support the hungry customers of Williamsburg!
Blue Talon Patio
The alleyway between what is now student housing and the Blue Talon Bistro, has since been converted to a covered outdoor dining area created during Covid. The Blue Talon was once a Car Service Station.
Blue Talon Bistro was once Ayer's Garage Auto repair shop. The back bays for the repairs on cars was where The Peanut Shop and Baskin Robbins is currently located.
The auto repair shop was once located in the place of what we now know as The Blue Talon Bistro. The bays are in the current location of Baskin Robbins and
The Peanut Shop.
Blue Talon Bistro perfectly encapsulates the classic bistro dining experience with modern updates. Owner and general manager Adam Steely comes from a background in fine dining and wanted to bring the traditional, timeless experience of French cuisine to Downtown Williamsburg. His vision, he says, was to create a more casual and fun atmosphere while still providing high-quality comfort food and classic recipes. The Bistro’s extensive menu has options to satisfy every craving, including cocktails from the early 1900s, savory rotisserie chicken and steak frites, and classic soups and salads.
Steely has created a hands-on, authentic service style and menu catered towards bringing people joy and creating a full dining experience. The Blue Talon team values their customers above all else and works hard to create strong connections with the Williamsburg community. With years of experience in the restaurant business, Steely says his favorite part has always been seeing people enjoy his food and connect with others over it. Visit Blue Talon for your next meal to enjoy a delectable dining experience with classic cuisine and exceptional service.
The Imperial building houses The Hound's Tale Corner BARkery, The Hound's Tale Kitchen as well as offices on the second and third floors. It was once the Imperial Movie Theater. It was the 2nd Imperial Movie Theater in town. Opened up March 4, 1932, but closed in March 1934.
Three Sisters Boutique
Need a new dress? Looking to uplift your current wardrobe? Kelly Terracina, owner of Three Sisters and sister store Three Cabanas, has the perfect selection of clothes, accessories, and shoes for you! When starting her business, Kelly scoured Downtown Williamsburg looking for the perfect place to set up her new boutique. When she first saw the space where Three Sisters is now she was told that her business wouldn’t thrive in the “bermuda triangle” building; however, she saw its potential and proved a number of people wrong with the success of her business and the number of businesses that came to the area. Kelly put her experience working for her grandparents’ department store, her hobby of styling friends, and her educational background in business to expand upon fashion in downtown! When it comes to her businesses, for Kelly it isn’t just about making a sale, but the connections she makes with each of her customers that brings a smile to her face. No matter who you are or where you come from, when you walk through her doors you are graced with the friendliest face and walk out of there strutting with confidence and a cute new piece of merchandise. Kelly wants everyone to know that her stores are not just places for teenagers and college students. With a variety of brands and price ranges, each piece of clothing is meant to be worn by any woman. Three Sisters and Three Cabanas are meant for women of all ages and backgrounds!
LAY OF THE LOST LION
Advise me, Muse! How shall I tell in verse the dire events
that our historical town beheld of late, when through these peaceful streets
a lion rampant, rampaged up and down?
Lo, thus Sir Walter would essay to tell in tragic numbers how the facts befell:
Leo at eve had ate his fill
So it was not with wish to kill
His dash for liberty he made.
He merely longed to seek the shade
Of some old garden, to forget
The circus din, his paws to wet
One more in dew, and there to make
His lair till morning bade him wake.
But loud behind him broke the noise
Of those who followed, men and boys
Intent to capture him again,
To mew him in his narrow pen.
As chief who hears his warden call
"To arms! The foeman storm the wall",
The noble monarch of the waste
Sprang forward, then, increased his haste,
Sneaked round the fence of Tucker house
As quietly as the merest mouse.
Passed Thompson's gate, not paused, I ween,
Until the Audrey House was seen.
A moment then he turned to eye
His would-be captors drawing nigh,
A moment paused, then forward crept,
And on Miss Cora's porch he leapt.
Nay, dear Sir Walter Scott, it will not do!
Thy colour's all too faint for such a scene.
I'll turn to Campbell and request his aid
To tell what happened on the Palace Green:
In Williamsburg the sun was low
All gold the buttercups did glow,
While calm, Miss Cora's face did show
A peaceful sweet swerenity.
But, oh, how differently was the sight
How dreadful was Miss Cora's plight
When sudden clamour filled the night
With yells of wild ferocity.
The house shook as though steeds were driven
O'er wall and roof; a blind was riven,
As though a lightning bold from Heaven
Had crashed its red artillery.
No, Campbell, no; thy words, though filled with fire,
Though spirited the tale thou dost relate
Still even though canst not full justice do
To those fair ladies and their tragic state
When at their window the fierce lion sprung.
Perchance could Poe more fittingly have sung:
Once upon an evening rosy, while they chatted calm and cosy
Round the lamp whose radiance gleamed on polished furniture and floor,
Suddenly there rose a crashing round of something madly dashing,
Madly stamping, fiercely smashing, smashing at the walls and door.
" 'tis a lunatic," they muttered, "smashing in our ancient door.
This was never done before!"
Miss Estelle in indignation made an angry declaration
That this racket on their threshold must be stopped foreveermore.
Then her heart well nigh topped beating, and she pallid stood repeating
For she has a vision fleeting, fleeting vision, nothing more
Of a lion at the window. "Sister, hear that awful roar.
'Tis a lion, nothing more!"
But Miss Cora's eyes were darting fire, and loud she shrieked, upstarting:
"Make this circus put their lion back into his cage once more,
Make them give us some token that they'll mend the blind he's broken.
Lo, I mean that what I have spoken. That that beast from my front door.
Take his claws out of my shutters and his footprints from the floor."
The lion answered with a roar.
Alas! O Muse of Poesy divine,
E'en this great poet's measure it too weak