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In these gay pages there is food
For every mind, and every mood,

Fair Lady, if you dare to spell them :
Now merriment, now grief prevails;
But yet the best of all the tales

Is of the young group met to tell them.


Oh, was it not a pleasant thought,
To set the pestilence at nought,

Chatting among sweet streams and flowers;
Of jealous husbands, fickle wives,
Of all the tricks which love contrives,

To see through veils, and talk through towers ?


Lady, they say the fearful guest,
Onward, still onward, to the west,

Poised on his sulphurous wings, advances;
Who, on the frozen river's banks,
Has thinned the Russian despot's ranks,

And marred the might of Warsaw's lances.

Another year—a brief, brief year !
And lo, the fell destroyer here,

He comes with all his gloomy terrors;
Then guilt will read the properest books,
And folly wear the soberest looks,

And virtue shudder at her errors.

And there 'll be sermons in the street;
And every friend and foe we meet

Will wear the dismal garb of sorrow;
And quacks will send their lies about,
And weary Halford will find out,

He must have four new bays to-morrow.


But you shall fly from these dark signs,
As did those happy Florentines,

Ere from your cheek one rose is faded ;

And hide your youth and loveliness
In some bright garden's green recess,

By walls fenced round, by huge trees shaded :


There brooks shall dance in light along,
And birds shall trill their constant song

Of pleasure, from their leafy dwelling ;
You shall have music, novels, toys;
But still the chiefest of your joys

Must be, fair Lady, story telling.


Be cautious how you choose your men :
Do n't look for people of the pen,

Scholars who read, or write the papers;
Do n't think of wits, who talk to dine,
Who drink their patron's newest wine,

And cure their patron's newest vapours.


Avoid all youths who toil for praise
By quoting Liston's last new phrase ;

Or sigh to leave high fame behind them;
For swallowing swords, or dancing jigs,
Or imitating ducks and pigs ;

Take men of sense,-if you can find them.

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