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I know much magic oft reposes
On wreaths of artificial roses,
And snowy necks, I never found them
Quite spoilt by having cameos round them.
In short, I'm very sure that all
Who seek or sigh for Beauty's thrall,
May breathe their vows, and feed their passion,
Though whist and waltzing keep in fashion,
And make the most delicious sonnets,
In spite of diamonds, and French bonnets !
WINTHROP MACKWORTH PRAED.
ELEGY ON THE ABROGATION OF THE
NSEQUENT FINAL SUBVERSION OF
BY A BEAU OF THE LAST CENTURY.
OW cease the exulting strain,
And bid the warbling lyre complain ;
Heave the soft sigh, and drop the
And mingle notes far other than of mirth,
E'en with the
the new-born year, Or hails the day that gave a monarch birth. That self-same sun, whose chariot wheels have
rollid Thro' many a circling year, with glorious toil, Up to the axles in refulgent gold, And gems, and silk, and crape, and flowers and
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
For ever at his lordly call
Up rose 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,
and never to return,
The graceful bow, the curts'y 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 fix'd gaze he eyes the imagin’d 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 Atrides), in his 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 frizz'd toupee ? and where,
Oh, 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 eyes 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 hedge-row 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 stirr'd 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 Gondel !
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 ?
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 sketched, and humour grouped,
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
In vain—these eyes, with tears of horror wet,
Read its death-warrant in the Court Gazette.
“No ball to-night!” Lord Chamberlain proclaims;
“No ball to-night shail grace thy roof, St. James!
"No ball!” The Globe, the Sun, the Star repeat,
The morning paper and the evening sheet;
Through all the land the tragic news has spread,
And all the land has mourn’d the Minuet dead.
So power completes ; but satire sketch'd the plan,
And Cecil ends what Bunbury began.
CATHERINE M. FANSHAWE.
THE BELLE OF THE BALL-ROOM.
EARS-years ago, ere yet my dreams
Had been of being wise or witty,-
Ere I had done with writing themes,
Or yawned o'er this infernal