Page images

Years—years ago,—while all my joy

Was in my fowling-piece and filly, In short, while I was yet a boy,

I fell in love with Laura Lily.

I saw her at the County Ball:

There, when the sounds of Aute and fiddle Gave signal sweet in that old hall

Of hands across and down the middle, Hers was the subtlest spell by far

Of all that set young hearts romancing ; She was our queen, our rose, our star ;

And then she danced-Oh Heaven, her dancing!

Dark was her hair, her hand was white;

Her voice was exquisitely tender; Her eyes were full of liquid light;

I never saw a waist so slender! Her every look, her every smile

Shot right and left a score of arrows; I thought 'twas Venus from her isle,

And wondered where she'd left her sparrows. She talked,—of politics or prayers,

Of Southey's prose or Wordsworth's sonnets Of danglers-or of dancing bears,

Of battles-or the last new bonnets, -
By candlelight, at twelve o'clock,

To me it mattered not a tittle ;
If those bright lips had quoted Locke,

I might have thought they murmured Little.

Through sunny May, through sultry June,

I loved her with a love eternal; I spoke her praises to the moon,

I wrote them to the Sunday Journal :

My mother laughed; I soon found out

That ancient ladies have no feeling.
My father frowned; but how should gout

See any happiness in kneeling ?


She was the daughter of a Dean,

Rich, fat, and rather apoplectic; She had one brother, just thirteen,

Whose colour was extremely hectic ; Her grandmother for many a year

Had fed the parish with her bounty; Her second cousin was a peer,

And Lord Lieutenant of the County.

But titles, and the three per cents,

And mortgages, and great relations, And Indian bonds, and tithes, and rents,

Oh what are they to love's sensations ? Black eyes, fair forehead, clustering locks

Such wealth, such honours, Cupid chooses ; He cares as little for the Stocks

As Baron Rothschild for the Muses.

She sketched; the vale, the wood, the beach,

Grew lovelier from her pencil's shading: She botanized; I envied each

Young blossom in her boudoir fading :
She warbled Handel ; it was grand;

She made the Catalani jealous :
She touched the organ; I could stand

For hours and hours to blow the bellows.

She kept an album, too, at home,

Well filled with all an album's glories ; Paintings of butterflies, and Rome,

Patterns for trimmings, Persian stories ;

Soft songs to Julia's cockatoo,

Fierce odes to famine and to slaughter, And autographs of Prince Leboo,

And recipes for elder-water.


And she was flattered, worshipped, bored;

Her steps were watched, her dress was Her poodle dog was quite adored,

Her sayings were extremely quoted; She laughed, and every heart was glad,

As if the taxes were abolished; She frowned, and every look was sad,

As if the Opera were demolished.

She smiled on many, just for fun ;

I knew that there was nothing in it; I was the first—the only one

Her heart had thought of for a minute. I knew it, for she told me so,

In phrase which was divinely moulded; She wrote a charming hand, -and oh!

How sweetly all her notes were folded !

Our love was like most other loves ;

A little glow, a little shiver,
A rose-bud, and a pair of gloves,

And“ Fly not yet”-upon the river ;
Some jealousy of some one's heir,

Some hopes of dying broken-hearted, A miniature, a lock of hair,

The usual vows,—and then we parted.

We parted; months and years rolled by;

We met again four summers after : Our parting was all sob and sigh;

Our meeting was all mirth and laughter:

For in my heart's most secret cell

There had been many other lodgers ;
And she was not the ball-room's Belle,
But only-Mrs. Something Rogers !



'T Cheltenham, where one drinks one's fill

Of folly and cold water,
I danced last year my first quadrille

With old Sir Geoffrey's daughter. Her cheek with summer's rose might vie,

When summer's rose is newest; Her eyes were blue as autumn's sky,

When autumn's sky is bluest; And well

my heart might deem her one Of life's most precious flowers, For half her thoughts were of its sun,

And half were of its showers.

[ocr errors]

I spoke of novels :

“ Vivian Grey”
Was positively charming,
And “Almack's” infinitely gay,

And “Frankenstein" alarming;
I said “De Vere” was chastely told,

Thought well of " Herbert Lacy,"
Called Mr. Banim's sketches “bold,"

And Lady Morgan's “racy;"
I vowed that last new thing of Hook's

Was vastly entertaining :
And Laura said " I doat on books,

Because it's always raining !"

I talked of music's gorgeous fane ;

I raved about Rossini,
Hoped Ronzi would come back again,

And criticized Pacini;
I wished the chorus-singers dumb,

The trumpets more pacific,
And eulogized Brocard's àplomb,

And voted Paul “ terrific !” What cared she for Medea's pride,

Or Desdemona's sorrow ? Alas!”


beauteous listener sighed, “ We must have rain to-morrow!

[ocr errors]

I told her tales of other lands:

Of ever-boiling fountains,
Of poisonous lakes and barren sands,

Vast forests, trackless mountains :
I painted bright Italian skies,

I lauded Persian roses,
Coined similes for Spanish eyes,

And jests for Indian noses :
I laughed at Lisbon's love of mass,

Vienna's dread of treason:
And Laura asked me—where the glass

Stood, at Madrid, last season.
I broached whate'er had gone its rounds,

The week before, of scandal ; What made Sir Lake lay down his hounds,

And Jane take up her Handel ; Why Julia walked upon the heath

With the pale moon above her; Where Flora lost her false front teeth,

. And Anne her falser lover; How Lord de B. and Mrs. L.

Had crossed the sea together :

« PreviousContinue »