Philip Freneau

Hot, dry winds forever blowing,
Dead men to the grave-yards going:
Constant hearses,
Funeral verses;
Oh! what plagues—there is no knowing!

Priests retreating from their pulpits!—
Some in hot, and some in cold fits
In bad temper,
Off they scamper,
Leaving us—unhappy culprits!

Doctors raving and disputing,
Death's pale army still recruiting—
What a pother
One with t'other!
Some a-writing, some a-shooting.

Nature's poisons here collected,
Water, earth, and air infected—
O, what pity,
Such a City,
Was in such a place erected!

This poem refers to the devastating plague of yellow fever that struck Philadelphia in August 1793. By the end of the epidemic in November, 5,000 people had died and 20,000 had fled the city.