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ASKED my fair one happy day,
By what sweet name from Rome or Greece
Arethusa or Lucrece.
“Ah!” replied my gentle fair,
Choose thou whatever suits the line ;
Only, only call me thine."
[Samuel T. Coleridge THE BELLE OF THE BALL-ROOM
VEARS—-years ago.—ere yet my dreams
Had been of being wise or witty,
Or yawned o'er this infernal Chittyl;
Was in my fowling-piece and filly,—
I fell in love with Laura Lily.
I saw her at the County Ball :
There, when the sounds of Alute and fiddle
Of hands across and down the middle,
Of all that set young hearts romancing :
And then she danced-- Heaven, her dancing!
Dark was her hair, her hand was white ;
Her voice was exquisitely tender ;
I never saw a waist so slender!
Shot right and left a score of arrows ;
And wondered where she'd left her sparrows.
She talked,- of politics or prayers,
Of Southey's prose, or Wordsworth's sonnets, Of danglers-or of dancing bears
Of battles of the last new bonnets.
To me it mattered not a tittle
I might have thought they murmur'd Little. Through sunny May, through sultry June,
I loved her with a love eternal ; I spoke her praises to the moon
I wrote them to the Sunday Journal ; My mother laughed ; I soon found out
That ancient ladies have no feeling : My father frowned; but how should gout
See any happiness in kneeling?
She was the daughter of a Dean,
Rich, fat, and rather apoplectic : She had one brother, just thirteen,
Whose colour 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,
Of what are they to love's sensations?
Such wealth, such honours, Cupid chooses ;
As Baron Rothschild for the Muses.
She sketched; the vale, the wood, the beach,
Grew lovelier from her pencil's shading ;
Young blossom in her budoir fading :
She made the Catalani jealous :
For hours and hours to blow the bellows
She kept an album, too, at home,
Well fill'd with all an album's glories ;
Patterns for trimmings, Persian stories ;
Fierce odes to Famine and to Slaughter,
And recipes for elder-water.
Her steps were watched, her dress was noted;
Her sayings were extremely quoted ;
She laugh'd, and every heart was glad,
As if the taxes were abolished ; She frown'd, and every look was sad,
As if the Opera were demolished.
She smiled 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 minuteI 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,
And “Fly not yet”-upon the river ;
Some hopes of dying broken-hearted, A miniature, a lock of hair,
The usual vows,--and then we parted.
We parted ; months and years rolled 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