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THE BEST OF THE BALL,
T last! O, sensation delicious!
At last, it is here, it is here!
In the jolliest ball of the year.
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.”
Such exquisite music as this !
Assenting, transported with bliss !
The music seems born of the air:
To sit, as I sit, on a stair !
Enraptured in thrilling delight,
Nor eyes half so tenderly bright."
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,
Will crimson the rose in her cheek."
And now that we sit here together,
I only—do all that I can-
While she opens and closes her fan.
What I thought to have said seems audacious,
Her ear it would surely offend;
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;
WITHOUT AND WITHIN.
Y coachman, in the moonlight there,
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.
A silken wonder by my side,
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.
J. RUSSELL LOWELL. AT THE OPERA-_“FAUST.”
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
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,
Drink in the sound like wine!
Passionate sense of enjoyment,
Absolute lull of delight-
Awakens her heart to-night;
Hold her in mute suspense,
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 ?
In light, and odour, and dew,
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.