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Fix'd are their feet in solid earth,
Where winds can never blow;
But visitings of deeper birth
Have reach'd their roots below.
For they have gain’d the river's brink,
And of the living waters drink.
There's little Will, a five years child-
He is my youngest boy ;
To look on eyes so fair and wild,
It is a very joy
He hath conversed with sun and shower,
And dwelt with every idle flower,
As fresh and gay as them.
He loiters with the briar rose,-
The blue-belles are his play-fellows,
That dance upon their slender stem.
And I have said, my little Will,
Why should not he continue still
A thing of Nature's rearing?
A thing beyond the world's control-
A living vegetable soul,
No human sorrow fearing.
It were a blessed sight to see
That child become a Willow-tree,
His brother trees among.
He'd be four times as tall as me,
And live three times as long.
Catherine M. Fanshawe.
What's life but full of care and doubt,
With all its fine humanities,
With parasols we walk about,
Long pigtails and such vanities.
We plant pomegranate trees and things,
And go in gardens sporting,
With toys and fans of peacock's wings,
To painted ladies courting.
We gather flowers of every hue,
And fish in boats for fishes,
Build summer-houses painted blue,
But life's as frail as dishes.
Walking about their groves of trees,
Blue bridges and blue rivers,
How little thought them two Chinese,
They'd both be smash’d to shivers.
ELEGY ON THE ABROGATION OF THE BIRTH.
NIGHT BALL, AND THE CONSEQUENT
FINAL SUBVERSION OF THE MINUET.
By a beau of the last century.
Now cease the exulting strain,
And bid the warbling lyre complain ;
Heave the soft sigh, and drop the tuneful tear,
And mingle notes far other than of mirth,
E’en with the song that greets the new-born year,
Or hails the day that gave a monarch birth.
That self-same sun whose chariot wheels have roll'd
Thro' many a circling year, with glorious toil,
Up to the axles in refulgent gold,
And gems, and silk, and crape, and flowers, and foil ;
That self-same sun no longer dares
Bequeath his honours to his heirs,
And bid the dancing hours supply
As erst, with kindred pomp, his absence from the sky,
For ever at his lordly call
Uprose the spangled night!
Leading, in gorgeous splendour bright,
The minuet and the Ball.
And balls each frolic hour may bring,
That revels through the maddening spring,
Shaking with hurried steps the painted floor :
But Minuets are no more !
No more the well-taught feet shall tread
The figure of the mazy Zed :
The beau of other times shall mourn,
As gone, and never to return,
The graceful bow, the curtsy low,
The floating forms, that undulating glide,
(Like anchor'd vessels on the swelling tide,)
That rise and sink, alternate, as they go,
Now bent the knee, now lifted on the toe,
The side-long step that works its even way,
The slow pas-grave, and slower balancé-
Still with fixed gaze he eyes the imagined fair,
And turns the corner with an easy air.
Not so his partner - from her tangled train
To free her captive foot, she strives in vain ;
Her tangled train, the struggling captive holds
(Like great Alcides) in its fatal folds;
The laws of gallantry his aid demand,
The laws of etiquette withhold his hand.
Such pains, such pleasures, now alike are o'er,
And beau and etiquette shall soon exist no more !
In their stead, behold advancing,
Modern men and women dancing !
Step and dress alike express,
Above, below, from head to toe,
Male and female awkwardness.
Without a hoop, without a ruffle,
One eternal jig and shuffle ;
Where's the air, and where's the gait ?
Where's the feather in the hat?
Where's the frizzed toupee ? and where,
O, where's the powder for the hair?
Where are all their former graces ?
And where three-quarters of their faces ?
With half the forehead lost and half the chin?
We know not where they end, or where begin.
Mark the pair, whom favouring fortune
At the envy'd top shall place,
Humbly they the rest importune
To vouchsafe a little space. Not the graceful arm to wave in,
Or the silken robe expand ; All superfluous action saving,
Idly drops the lifeless hand,
Her downcast eye the modest beauty
Sends, as doubtful of their skill, To see if feet perform their duty,
And their endless task fulfil : Footing, footing, footing, footing, Footing, footing, footing, still.
While the rest in hedgerow state,
All insensible to sound,
With more than human patience wait,
Like trees fast rooted to the ground
Not such as once, with sprightly motion,
To distant music stirred their stumps, And tript from Pelion to the Ocean,
Performing avenues and clumps : What time old Jason's ship, the Argo,
Orpheus fiddling at the helm, From Colchis bore her golden cargo,
Dancing o'er the azure main. But why recur to ancient story,
Or balls of modern date?
Be mine to trace the Minuet's fate,
And weep its fallen glory :
To ask, Who rang the parting knell ?
If Vestris came the solemn dirge to hear ?
Genius of Valoüy, didst thou hover near ?
Shade of Lepicq ! and spirit of Gardel !
I saw their angry forms arise
Where wreaths of smoke involve the skies
Above St. James's steeple :
I heard them curse our heavy heel,
The Irish step, the Highland reel,
And all the United People.
To the dense air the curse adhesive clung,
Repeated since by many a modish tongue,
In words that may be said, but never shall be sung
What cause untimely urged the Minuet's fate?
Did war subvert the manners of the State ?
Did savage nations give the barbarous law,
The Gaul Cisalpine, or the Gonoquaw ?
Its fall was destined to a peaceful land,
A sportive pencil, and a courtly hand;
They left a name, that time itself might spare,
To grinding organs and the dancing bear.
On Avon's banks, where sport and laugh
Careless pleasure's sons and daughters,
Where health, the sick, and aged quaff,
From good King Bladud's healing waters ;
While genius sketch'd, and humour group'd,
Then it sicken'd, then it droop'd :
Sadden'd with laughter, wasted with a sneer,
And “the long minuet ” shorten’d its career.
With cadence slow, and solemn pace,
Th' indignant mourner quits the place-
For ever quits—no more to roam
From proud Augusta's regal dome.
Ah! not unhappy who securely rest,
Within the sacred precincts of a court ;
Who, then, their timid steps shall dare arrest ?
White wands shall guide them, and gold sticks support. In vain—these eyes with tears of horror wet, Read its death-warrant in the Court Gazette ! “No ball to-night !” Lord Chamberlain proclaims i “No ball to-night shall grace thy roof, St. James !” “No ball !” the Globe, the Sun, the Star repeat, The morning paper and the evening sheet ; Thro' all the land the tragic news has spread, And all the land has mourned the Minuet dead. So power completes ; but satire sketch'd the plan, And Cecil ends what Bunbury began.
Catherine M. Fanshawe.
GOOD-NIGHT? ah ! no ; the hour is ill
Which severs those it should unite;
Let us remain together still,
Then it will be Good-night.
How can I call the lone night good,
Though thy sweet wishes wing its flight ?
Be it not said, thought, understood,
That it will be Good-night.