Page images


T last! O, sensation delicious!

At last, it is here, it is here!
That moment supremely auspicious

In the jolliest ball of the year.
It is all as I dreamt it would happen-

The rooms grown oppressive with heat, And my darling, alarm’d with the crowding,

Suggesting a timely retreat. “Not there; not among the exotics ;

I faint with that fragrance of theirs. Let us go—it will be so refreshing

And find out a seat on the stairs.”
How dear are the lips that could utter

Such exquisite music as this !
How I listen’d, my heart all a-flutter,

Assenting, transported with bliss !
All the house with the dancers is throbbing,

The music seems born of the air:
O, joy of all joy the extremest,

To sit, as I sit, on a stair !
To sit, and to gaze on my darling,

Enraptured in thrilling delight,
As I think, “Never face could be fairer,

Nor eyes half so tenderly bright."
It is all as I knew it would happen,

Yet, no; there is something I missThe eloquent words I intended

To speak in a moment like this.

They were tender, and soft, and poetic,

And I thought, “ As I timidly speak,
She will smile, and a blush sympathetic

Will crimson the rose in her cheek."

And now that we sit here together,

I only—do all that I can-
Converse on the ball and the weather,

While she opens and closes her fan.

What I thought to have said seems audacious,

Her ear it would surely offend;
She would turn from me, no longer gracious,

And frown my delight to an end.

Far better to talk of the weather,

Or ponder in rapture supreme : 'Tis so joyous to sit here together,

So pleasant to wake and to dream!

Contented, long hours we could measure,

Forgetting, forgotten by all;
Nor envy the dancers their pleasure,
For ours is the best of the ball.




Y coachman, in the moonlight there,
Looks through the side-light of the

door ;
I hear him with his brethren swear,
As I could do,—but only more.

Flattening his nose against the pane,

He envies me my brilliant lot, Breathes on his aching fist in vain,

And dooms me to a place more hot.
He sees me into supper go,

A silken wonder by my side,
Bare arms, bare shoulders, and a row

Of flounces, for the door too wide.

He thinks how happy is my arm,

'Neath its white-gloved and jewelled load; And wishes me some dreadful harm,

Hearing the merry corks explode.

Meanwhile I inly curse the bore

Of hunting still the same old coon, And envy him, outside the door,

The golden quiet of the moon.

The winter wind is not so cold

As the bright smile he sees me win, Nor the host's oldest wine so old

As our poor gabble, sour and thin.

I envy him the rugged prance

By which his freezing feet he warms, And drag my lady's chains, and dance,

The galley-slave of dreary forms. Oh could he have my share of din,

And I his quiet past a doubt 'Twould still be one man bored within, And just another bored without.


IS the Gretchen's piteous story

That I hear, yet do not hear, And its wailing, warning accents

That awake nor awe nor fear, For I move in a dream Elysian,

I have only ear and sight
For a voice that sweetens music,

And a face that brightens light.

It came with the curtain's rising,

That face of a faultless mould, And the amber drapery glistened

With the lustre of woven gold. I could hear a silken rustle,

And the air had fragrant grown, But the scene from my sight had faded,

And I looked on that face alone,

In the midst of the grand exotics

That blossom the season through, It is there, a rose of the garden,

Fresh from the winds and the dew ;-Fresh as a face that ws The hounds up a rising hill

, With hair blown back by the breezes

That seem to live in it still.

So fresh, and rosy, and dimpled

But, oh! what a soul there lies, Melting to liquid agate

Those womanly tender eyes!


How it quickens under the music

As if at a breath divine,
And the ripening lips disparted,

Drink in the sound like wine!

Passionate sense of enjoyment,

Absolute lull of delight-
They are hers as the sorrowful story

Awakens her heart to-night;
And those strains deliciously tender

Hold her in mute suspense,
Delighting each quick perception,

Regaling each subtle sense. And she in her virginal beauty

As pure as a pictured saintHow should this sinning and sorrow

Have for her danger or taint ?
What guesses the rosebud, glowing

In light, and odour, and dew,
Of the rose of the wind's despoiling,

Lamenting the summer through?

So, if she shudder, as round her

The music dreamily flows, 'Tis but the maidenly instinct

That neither reasons or knows; And still she listens and listens,

Entranced by some heavenly thought, Some phrase of silvery sweetness,

Some cadence airily wrought.

Till the music surges and ceases,

As the sea when the wind is spent, And the blue of heaven brightens

Through cloudy fissure and rent.

« PreviousContinue »