« PreviousContinue »
For all the stars I ever saw!
I fly from thee, I fly from these,
To bow to earthly Goddesses,
Whose forms in mortal beauty shine
As fair, but not so cold, as thine !
But this is foolish! Stars and Moon, You look quite beautiful in June; But, when a Bard sits down to sing, Your beauty is a dangerous thing; To muse upon your placid beam, One wanders sadly from one's theme; And when weak Poets go astray, The stars are more in fault than they. The Moon is charming! so, perhaps, Are pretty maidens in mob-caps; But, when a Ball is in the case, They're both a little out of place.
I love a Ball! there's such an air Of magic in the lustre's glare, And such a spell of witchery In all I hear, and all I see, That I can read in every dance Some relic sweet of old romance; As Fancy wills, I laugh and smile, And talk such nonsense all the while, That when Dame Reason rules again, And morning cools my heated brain,
Reality itself doth seem
Nought but the pageant of a dream;
In raptures deep I gaze, as now,
On smiling lip, and tranquil brow,
While merry voices echo round,
And music's most inviting sound
Swells on mine ear; the glances fly,
And love and folly flutter high,
And many a fair, romantic cheek,
Redden'd with pleasure or with pique,
Glows with a sentimental flush,
That seems a bright, unfading blush ;
And slender arms before my face
Are rounded with a Statue's grace;
And ringlets wave, and beauteous feet
Swifter than lightning part and meet;
Frowns come and go; white hands are pressed,
And sighs are heard, and secrets guessed,
And looks are kind, and eyes are bright,
And tongues are free, and hearts are light.
Sometimes upon the crowd I look,
Secure in some sequesterd nook,
And while from thence I look and listen,
Though ladies' eyes so gayly glisten,
Though ladies' locks so lightly float,
Though music pours her mellowed note,
Some little spite will oft intrude
Upon my merry solitude.
By turns the ever-varying scene
Awakes within me mirth and spleen;
By turns the gay and vain appear,-
By turns I love to smile and sneer,
Mixing my malice with my glee,
Good humor with misanthropy;
And while my rapturd eyes adore
Half the bright forms that flit before,
I notice with a little laugh
The follies of the other half.
That little laugh will oft call down,
From matron sage, rebuke and frown;
Little in truth for these I care,
By Momus and his mirth I swear!
For all the dishes Rowley tastes,
For all the paper Courtenay wastes,
For all the punch his subjects quaff,
I would not change that little laugh.*
Shall I not laugh, when every fool Comes hither for my ridicule, When every face, that flits to-night In long review before my sight, Shows off, unask’d, its airs and graces, Unconscious of the mirth it raises ?
Skill'd to deceive our ears and eyes By civil looks and civil lies,
Skill'd from the search of men to hide :
His narrow boson's inward pride,
And charm the blockheads he beguiles
By uniformity of smiles,
The County Member, bright Sir Paul,
Is Primo Buffo at the Ball.
Since first he longed to represent His fellow-men in Parliament, Courted the cobblers and their spouses, And sought his honors in mud-houses, Full thirty Springs have come and fled; And though from off his shining head The twin-destroyers, Time and Care, Begin to pluck its fading hair, Yet where it grew, and where it grows, Lie powder's never-varying snows, And hide the havoc years have made, In kind monotony of shade. Sir Paul is young in all but years, And when his courteous face appears, The maiden wall-flowers of the room Admire the freshness of his bloom, Hint that his face has made him vain, And vow “he grows a boy again;" And giddy girls of gay fifteen Mimic his manner and his mein, And when the supple politician Bestows his bow of recognition, Or forces on th' averted ear
The flattery it affects to fear,
They look, and laugh behind the fan,
And dub Sir Paul “ the young old man.”
Look! as he paces round, he greets,
With nod and simper, all he meets :-
“Ah! ha! your Lordship! is it you?
Still slave to Beauty and beaux yeux ?
Well! well !—and how's the gout, my Lord ?-
My dear Sir Charles ! upon my word
L'air de Paris, since last I knew you,
Has been Medea's cauldron to you :-
William! my boy! how fast you grow!
Yours is a light fantastic toe,
Wing'd with the wings of Mercury!
I was a scholar once, you see!
And how's the mare you used to ride ?
And who's the Hebe by your side ?-
Doctor! I thought I heard you sneeze !
How is my dear Hippocrates ?
What have you done for old John Oates,
The gouty merchant with five votes?
What! dead ? well! well! no fault of yours !
There is no drug that always cures !
Ah! Doctor, I begin to break,
And I'm glad of it, for your sake.”
As thus the spruce M. P. runs on, Some quiet dame, who dotes upon His speeches, buckles, and grimace,