« PreviousContinue »
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 fute 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,-
To me it mattered not a tittle ;
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 made the Catalani jealous :
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 recipes for elder-water.
Her steps were watched, her dress was noted; Her poodle dog was quite adored,
Her sayings were extremely quoted;
As if the taxes were abolished;
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,
And “Fly not yet”-upon the river ;
Some hopes of dying broken-hearted, A miniature, a lock of hair,
The usual vows,—and then we parted.
We parted; months and years
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 !
WINTHROP MACKWORTH PRAED.
T Cheltenham, where one drinks one's fill
Of folly and cold water,
With old Sir Geoffrey's daughter. Her cheek with summer's rose might vie,
When summer's rose is newest ;
When autumn's sky is bluest ;
Of life's most precious flowers,
And half were of its showers.
I spoke of novels :—“Vivian Grey
And“ Frankenstein” alarming ;
Thought well of “ Herbert Lacy,”
And Lady Morgan's "racy;"
Was vastly entertaining:
Because it's always raining!”
I talked of music's gorgeous fane ;
I raved about Rossini,
And criticized Pacini ;
The trumpets more pacific,
And voted Paul “terrific !” What cared she for Medea's pride,
Or Desdemona's sorrow ? “ Alas !” my beauteous listener sighed,
We must have rain to-morrow!”
I told her tales of other lands:
Of ever-boiling fountains,
Vast forests, trackless mountains :
I lauded Persian roses,
And jests for Indian noses :
Vienna's dread of treason :
Stood, at Madrid, last season.
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 :