Page images
PDF

“Flattery, perhaps, is not a crime,” (The lady dances out of time.) “Perhaps e’en now, within your heart, Cruel! you wish us leagues apart, And banish me from Beauty's presence !" The lady bows in acquiescence, With steady brow, and studied face, As if she thought, in such a case, A contradiction to her Beau Neither polite- nor apropos.

Unawed by scandal or by sneer,
Is Reuben Nott, the blunderer, here?
What ! is he willing to expose
His erring brain to friends and foes ?
And does he venturously dare,
· Midst grinning fop, and spiteful fair,
In spite of all their ancient slips,
To open those unhappy lips ?

Poor Reuben ! o'er his infant head
Her choicest bounties Nature shed;
She gave him talent, humor, sense,
A decent face and competence,
And then, to mar the beauteous plan,
She bade him be—an absent man.
Ever offending, ever fretting,
Ever explaining, and forgetting,
He blunders on from day to day,
And drives his nearest friends away.

Do Farces meet with flat damnation ?
He's ready with “congratulation.”
Are friends in office not quite pure ?
He owns “he hates a sinecure.”
Was Major — , in foreign strife,
Not over prodigal of life ?
He talks about “the coward's grave;">
And “who so base as be a slave ?»
Is some fair cousin made a wife
In the full Autumn of her life ?
He's sure to shock the youthful bride
With “forty years, come Whitsuntide."

He wanders round! I'll act the spy Upon his fatal courtesy, Which always gives the greatest pain, Where most it strives to entertain. “Edward ! my boy! an age has pass’d, Methinks, since Reuben saw you last ; How fares the Abbey ? and the rooks ? Your tenants ? and your sister's looks ? Lovely and fascinating still, With lips that wound, and eyes that kill ? When last I saw her dangerous face, There was a lover in the case. A pretty pair of epaulettes ! But then, there were some ugly debts ! A match ? Nay! why so gloomy, boy? Upon my life I wish 'em joy!"

With arms enfolded o'er his breast, And fingers clench’d, and lips compress’d, And eye whese every glance appears To speak a threat in Reuben's ears, That youth had heard ; 'tis brief and stern The answer that he deigns return; Then silent on his homeward way, Like Ossian's ghosts, he strides away,

Astonish'd at his indignation, Reuben breaks out in exclamation: “Edward ! I mean—I really meantUpon my word—a compliment; You look so stern! nay, why is this ? Angry because I flattered Miss ? What! gone? The deuce is in the man ! Explain, Sir Robert, if you can.”— “Eh! what? perhaps you havn't heard !Excuse my laughing !-how absurd ! A slight faux pas !-a trifle—merely! Ha! ha!—egad, you touch'd him, nearly.”

All blunderers, when they chance to make In colloquy some small mistake, Make haste to make a hundred more To mend the one they made before. 'Tis thus with Reuben! through the throng With hurried steps he hastes along; Thins, like a pest, the crowded seats, And runs a muck at all he meets;

Rich in his unintended satire,
And killing where he meant to flatter.
He makes a College Fellow wild
By asking for his wife and child;
Puts a haught Blue in awful passion
By disquisitions on the Fashion;
Refers a knotty case in Whist
To Morley, the Philanthropist ;
Quotes to a Sportsman from St. Luke,
Bawls out plain “Bobby” to a Duke ;
And while a Barrister invites
Our notice to the Bill of Rights,
And fat Sir John begins to launch
Into the praises of a haunch,
He bids the man of quibbles pause
By eulogizing “Spartan Laws ;''
And makes the Epicure quite wroth
By eulogizing “Spartan Broth.”
Error on Error grows and swells,
For, as a certain proverb tells,
“ When once a man has lost his way,"
But you have read it,-or you may.

Girt with a crowd of listening graces, With expectation on their faces, Chattering, and looking all the while As if he strove to hide a smile That fain would burst Decorum’s bands, Alfred Duval, the hoaxer, stands.

Alfred! the eldest born of Mirth!
There is not on this nether earth
So light a spirit, nor a soul
So little used to all control.
Frolic, and Fun, and Jest, and Glee
Burst round him unremittingly;
And in the glances of his eyes
Ever his heart's good-humor flies,
Mild as the breezes of the South;
And while, from many a wiser mouth,
We drink the fruits of education,
The solid Port of conversation,-
From Alfred's lips we seem to drain
A ceaseless flow of bright Champagne.
In various shapes his wit is found;.
But most it loves to send around,
O’er half the town, on Rumor's gale,
Some marvellously-fasbioned tale,
And cheat the unsuspecting ear
With groundless hope or groundless fear.
To speak in civil words—his bent
Lies sadly to-Embellishment.
“Sir!” says Morality, “you know
You shouldn't flatter Falsehood so:
The Nurse that rocked you in your crib,
Taught you to loathe and scorn a fib,
And Shakspeare warns you of the evil,
Saying “tell truth, and shame the Devil !'
I like, as well as you, the glances
Where gay Good Humor brightly dances;

« PreviousContinue »