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the Eternal Question
THE ETERNAL QUESTION
She was just a child, really,
A girl of sixteen,
when Stanford White took her
in a champagne fueled dream.
White was an architect of great renown,
He had designed the Garden at Madison Square.
He had designs on this chorus girl now,
whose raven haired beauty drew many men’s stares.
He had dined her and wined her
They had toasts with Champagne
On a red velvet swing
In his quarters they played.
In a room full of mirrors
A virgin lay down
When she awoke the next morning
No virgin was found.
It was Evelyn Nesbit’s fate
To be seen as a pawn or a prize.
Harry Thaw sought her in marriage
To take her from a man he despised.
Stanford White was wealthy, urbane,
and had his pick of life’s pleasures
Harry K Thaw was a wastrel and strange,
living off of his Father’s massed treasures.
White and Thaw had competed
for Evelyn’s affections.
White won, then soon lost interest.
Poor Evelyn lost his protection.
Thaw was an addict and deviant
He injected himself with cocaine.
He enjoyed whipping girls and sometimes young boys
with his riding whip or his cane.
He’d pursued Evelyn Nesbit for years
She’d denied all of his advances
Then her forced her and whipped her and beat her
It was one of life’s stranger romances.
He soon learned that the girl he had married
was no demure and virginal bride.
He learned that his rival, Stanford White
had, once more, plucked his pride.
Harry Thaw was then possessed
by a paranoid Jealous rage
Stanford White was a dead man
if it could be arranged.
Thaw, that summer, found his chance
At the roof Garden of Madison Square
Stanford White was in attendance
Thaw and Nesbitt were also there.
Thaw wore a long black overcoat
Strange dress for a day in June
The chorus girls were singing out
when three shots disturbed the tune.
Harry Thaw had murdered White:
three shots at point blank range.
The crowd, in shock, did nothing
as the murderer fled the stage.
Harry Thaw was placed on trial.
The Trial of the century
His lawyers built a strong defense
Based on an insanity plea...
In exchange for a promised divorce
And a specified sum of cash
Evelyn Nesbit was persuaded
to testify on Thaw’s behalf.
She told of the red velvet Swing
and about the mirrored room.
The Jury ruled insanity
Harry Thaw would be free soon.
After the Divorce, Thaw cut her off.
No cash was ever paid
She went on to a brief career
in movies and on stage..
Thaw died of a heart attack
In Nineteen Forty Nine.
Evelyn died in a Nursing Home
in Ronald Reagan’s time.
White’s Square Garden was demolished
Now moved to Seventh Avenue
It’s in its fourth incarnation
as the World’s most famous venue.
In the forum of the Garden
A golden Statute is in place.
With the body of a huntress
But with Evelyn Nesbit’s face
John F. McCullagh