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With naught to cheer his close of day
Next came the interesting beau,
Varied his manners—or his clothes,
Oh ! how did Laura love to vex The fair one of the other sex! For him she practised every art That captivates and plagues the heart. Did he bring tickets for the play ? No—Laura had the spleen to-day. Did he escort her to the ball ? No-Laura would not dance at all. Did he look grave ?_" the fool was sad;" Was he jocose ?_“the man was mad.” E’en when he knelt before her feet, And there, in accents soft and sweet, Laid rank and fortune, heart and hand, At Laura's absolute command, Instead of blushing her consent, She “wondered what the blockhead meant."
Yet still the fashionable fool Was proud of Laura's ridicule; Though still despised, he still pursued, In ostentatious servitude, Seeming, like lady's lap-dog, vain Of being led by Beauty's chain. He knelt, he gazed, he sighed, and swore, While 'twas the fashion to adore; When years had passed, and Laura's frown Had ceased to terrify the town,
He hurried from the fallen grace,
The next to gain the beauty's ear Was William Lisle, the sonneteer, Well deemed the prince of rhyme and blank; For long and deeply had he drank Of Helicon's poetic tide, Where nonsense flows, and numbers glide; And slumbered on the herbage green That decks the banks of Hippocrene. In short—bis very footmen know itWilliam is mad—or else a poet.*
He came, and rhymed; he talked of fountains,
“ Laura, I perish for your sake,”— (Here he digressed about a lake ;)
“The charms thy features all disclose,”— (A simile about a rose ;) “Have set my very soul on fire,”— (An episode about his lyre ;) “ Though you despise, I still must love,”— (Something about a turtle dove ;) “Alas! in death’s unstartled sleep,”— (Just here he did his best to weep;) “ Laura, the willow soon shall wave Over thy lover's lowly grave.” Then he began, with pathos due, To speak of cypress, and of rue. But Fortune's unforeseen award Parted the Beauty from the Bard; For Laura, in that evil hour, When unpropitious stars had power, Unmindful of the thanks she owed, Lighted her taper with an ode. Poor William all his vows forgot, And hurried from the fatal spot, In all the bitterness of quarrel, To write lampoons—and dream of laurel.
Years fleeted by, and every grace
We know her waiting-maid is clever,
Her wonted wit began to fail,
Unhappy Laura ! sadness marred