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I found him at threescore and ten,
A single man, but bent quite double, Sickness was coming on him then,
To take him from a world of troubleHe prosed of sliding down the hill,
Discovered he grew older daily ; One frosty day he made his will
The next he sent for Dr. Bailey!
And so he lived—and so he died :
When last I sat beside his pillow, He shook my hand—“Ah me!”—he cried, “Penelope must wear the willow. Tell her I hugged her rosy chain
While life was flickering in the socket : And say, that when I call again,
I'll bring a license in my pocket.
“ I've left my house and grounds to Fag
(I hope his master's shoes will suit him ;) And I've bequeathed to you my nag,
To feed him for my sake-or shoot him. The Vicar's wife will take old Fox
She'll find him an uncommon mouser ; And let her husband have my box,
My Bible, and my Assmanshauser.
“ Whether I ought to die or not
My doctors cannot quite determine; It's only clear that I shall rot,
And be, like Priam, food for vermin.
My debts are paid ;-but Nature's debt
Almost escaped my recollection! Tom! we shall meet again; and yet cannot leave you my
III.—THE BELLE OF THE BALL.
YEARS—years ago-ere yet my dreams
Had been of being wise and witty ; Ere I had done with writing themes,
Or yawn'd o'er this infernal Chitty ; Years, years ago, while all my joys
Were in my fowling-piece and filly; In short, while I was yet a boy,
I fell in love with Laura Lilly.
I saw her at a country ball ;
There when the sound of flute 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 sets young hearts romancing : She was our queen, our rose, our star;
And when 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,
I wondered where she 'd left her sparrows.
She talk'd of politics or prayers ;
Of Southey's prose, or Wordsworth's sonnets; Of daggers or of dancing bears,
Of battles, or the last new bonnets;
To me it matter'd 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 for the Sunday Journal. My mother laughed; I soon found out
That ancient ladies have no feeling ; My father frown'd; but how should gout
Find any happiness in kneeling?
She was the daughter of a dean,
Rich, fat, and rather apoplectic; She had one brother just thirteen,
Whose color 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 India bonds, and tithes and rents,
Oh! what are they to love's sensations ? Black eyes, fair forehead, clustering locks,
Such wealth, such honors, Cupid chooses; He cares as little for the stocks,
As Baron Rothschild for the muses.
She sketch'd ; 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 Catalina jealous; She touch'd the
I could stand For hours and hours and blow the bellows.
She kept an album, too, at home,
Well fill'd with all an album's glories; Paintings of butterflies and Rome,
Patterns for trimming, Persian stories; Soft songs to Julia's cockatoo,
Fierce odes to famine and to slaughter; And autographs of Prince Laboo,
And recipes of elder water.
And she was flatter'd, worshipp'd, bored,
Her steps were watch'd, her dress was noted, Her poodle dog was quite adored,
Her sayings were extremely quoted.
She laugh'd, and every heart was glad, ,
As if the taxes were abolish'd;
As if the opera were demolish'd.
She smil'd 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 rosebud 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 roll’d 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 belle,
But only Mrs.--Something-Rogers.