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LAURA.

“ For she in shape and beauty did excel
All other idols that the heathen do adore.”
" And all about her altar scatter'd lay
Great sorts of lovers piteously complaining."-SPENSER.

A Look as blithe, a step as light, As fabled nymph, or fairy sprite; A voice, whose every word and tone, Might make a thousand hearts its own; A brow of fervour, and a mien Bright with the hopes of gay fifteen; These, lov'd and lost one!—these were thine, When first I bow'd at beauty's shrine. But I have torn my wavering soul From woman's proud and weak control; The fane where I so often knelt, The flame my heart so truly felt, Are visions of another time, Themes for my laughter,—and my rhyme.

She saw and conquered; in her eye
There was a careless cruelty
That shone destruction, while it seem'd
Unconscious of the fire it beam'd.
And oh ! that negligence of dress,
That wild infantine playfulness,
That archness of the trifling brow
That could command—we knew not how-
Were links of gold, that held me then,
In bonds I may not bear again;
For dearer to an honest heart
Is childhood's mirth than woman's art.

Already many an aged dame, Skilful in scandalizing fame, Foresaw the reign of Laura's face, Her sway, her folly, and disgrace. Minding the beauty of the day More than her partner, or her play :“ Laura a beauty ?-flippant chit! I vow I hate her forward wit!(“ I lead a club”)—“ why, Ma'am, between us, Her mother thinks her quite a Venus;

But every parent loves, you know, To make a pigeon of her crow." “ Some folks are apt to look too highShe has a dukedom in her eye.' “ The girl is straight,” (“ we call the ace,”) “ But that's the merit of her stays.” I'm sure I loath malicious hintsBut-only look, how Laura squints. " Yet Miss, forsooth, "-(" who play'd the ten?") “ Is quite perfection with the men; The flattering fools--they make me sick," (" Well-four by honours, and the trick.")

While thus the crones hold high debate,
On Laura's charms, and Laura's fate;
A few short years have roll'd along,
And—first in pleasure's idle throng,
Laura, in ripen'd beauty proud,
Smiles haughty on the flattering crowd ;
Her sex's envy-fashion's boast,
An heiress—and a reigning toast.

The circling waltz and gay quadrille
Are in, or out, at Laura's will;
The tragic bard, and comic wit,
Heed not the critic in the pit,
If Laura's undisputed sway
Ordains full houses to the play;
And fair ones, of a humbler fate,
That envy, while they imitate,
From Laura's whisper strive to guess
The changes of inconstant dress.
Where'er her step in beauty moves,
Around her fly a thousand loves ;
A thousand graces go before,
While striplings wonder and adore :
And some are wounded by a sigh,
Some by the lustre of her eye;
And these her studied smiles ensnare,
And those the ringlets of her hair.

The first his fluttering heart to lose,
Was Captain Piercy, of the Blues;
He squeez'd her hand-he gaz'd, and swore
He never was in love before ;
He entertain'd his charmer's ear,
With tales of wonder and of fear;

Talk'd much, and long, of siege and fight,
Marches by day, alarms by night;
And Laura listen'd to the story,
Whether it spoke of love or glory;
For many an anecdote had he,
Of combat, and of gallantry;
Of long blockades,

and sharp attacks,
Of bullets, and of bivouacks ;
Of towns o'ercome and ladies too,
Of billet-and of billet-doux ;
Of nunneries, and escalades,
And damsels and Damascus blades.

Alas! too soon the Captain found How swiftly Fortune's wheel goes found; Laura at last began to doze, E'en in the midst of Badajoz; And hurried to a game at loo, From Wellington and Waterloo. The hero,-in heroics left,Of fortune-and a wife-bereft; With nought to cheer his close of day, But celibacy-and half pay; Since Laura—and his stars were cruel, Sought his quietys in a duel.

He fought, and perish'd; Laura sigh’d, To hear how hapless Piercy died ; And wip'd her eyes, and thus exprest The feelings of her tender breast :“ What? dead -poor fellow—what a pity! He was so handsome and so witty ; Shot in a duel too !--good gracious -How I did hate that man's mustachios !!”

Next came the interesting beau,
The trifling youth-Frivolio;
He came to see and to be seen,
Grace and good breeding in his mien;
Shone all Delcroix upon his head,
The West-end spoke in all he said ;
And in his neckcloth's studied fold,
Sat Fashion, on a throne of gold.
He came, impatient to resign
What heart he had, at Laura's shrine:
Though deep in self-conceit encas’d,
He learnt to bow to Laura's taste;

Consulted her on new quadrilles,
Spot waistcoats, lavender, and gills;
As will’d the proud and fickle fair,
He tied his cloth, and curl'd his hair ;
Varied his manners-or his clothes,
And chang'd his tailor-or his oaths.

Oh! how did Laura love to vex The fair one of the other sex! For him she practised every art That captivates and plagues the heart. Did he bring tickets for the play? No-Laura had the spleen to-day. Did he escort her to the ball ? No-Laura would'nt dance at all. Did he look grave ?—“ the fool was sad ;” Was he jocose ?—" the man was mad.” E'en when he knelt before her feet, And there, in accent soft and sweet, Laid rank and fortune, heart and hand, At Laura's absolute command, Instead of blushing her consent, She wonder'd what the blockhead meant."

Yet still the fashionable fool
Was proud of Laura's ridicule ;
Though still despised, he still pursued,
In ostentatious servitude,
Seeming, like lady's Jap-dog, vain
Of being led by beauty's chain.
He knelt, he gaz’d, he sigh’d, and swore,
While 'twas the fashion to adore ;
When years had past, and Laura's frown
Had ceas'd to terrify the town,
He hurried from the fallen grace,
To idolize a newer face :
Constant to nothing was the ass,
Save to his follies and his glass.

The next to gain the beauty's ear Was William Lisle, the sonneteer, Well deem'd the prince of rhyme and blank; For long and deeply has he drank Of Helicon's poetic tide, Where nonsense flows, and numbers glide; And slumber'd on the herbage green, That decks the banks of Hippocrene.

In short_his very footmen know it
William is mad-

or else a poet.*

He came-and rhym'd-he talked of fountains, Of Pindus, and Pierian mountains

8;
Of wandering lambs, of gurgling rills,
And roses, and Castalian hills;
He thought a lover's vow grew sweeter,
When it meander'd into metre;
And planted every speech with flowers,
Fresh blooming from Aonian bowers.

“ Laura-I perish for your sake," — (Here he digress'd, about a lake ;) « The charms thy features all disclose,” (A simile about a rose ;) · Have set my very soul on fire,”— (An episode about his lyre ;)

Though you despise-I still must love,"-
(Something about a turtle dove ;)
“ Alas! in death's unstartled sleep,”—
(Just here he did his best to weep ;)

Laura, the willow soon shall wave,
Over thy lover's lowly grave.
Then he began, with pathos due,
To speak of cypress and of rue :
But Fortune's unforeseen award
Parted the beauty from the bard ;
For Laura, in that evil hour
When unpropitious stars had power,
Unmindful of the thanks she owed,
Lighted her taper with an ode.
Poor William all his vows forgot,
And hurried from the fatal spot,
In all the bitterness of quarrel,
To write lampoons—and dream of laurel.

Years fleeted by, and every grace
Began to fade from Laura's face;
Through every circle whispers ran,
And aged dowagers began
To gratify their secret spite
“ How shocking Laura looks to-night!
We know her waiting-maid is clever,
But
rouge

won't make one young for ever ;

" Aut insanit homo,-aut versus facit."-HOR.
“ All Bedlam-or Parnassus is let out."-POPE.

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