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“ For she in shape and beauty did excel
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
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,
The circling waltz and gay quadrille
The first his fluttering heart to lose,
Talk'd much, and long, of siege and fight,
and sharp attacks,
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,
Consulted her on new quadrilles,
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
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
or else a poet.*
He came-and rhym'd-he talked of fountains, Of Pindus, and Pierian mountains
“ 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,"-
Laura, the willow soon shall wave,
Years fleeted by, and every grace
won't make one young for ever ;
" Aut insanit homo,-aut versus facit."-HOR.