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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 285 pages of information about The Idler in France.

This conversation suggested the following lines, which I wish I could translate into French verse to give to Madame C——­: 

     GRAY HAIRS.

     Snowy blossoms of the grave
     That now o’er care-worn temples wave,
     Oh! what change hath pass’d since ye
     O’er youthful brows fell carelessly! 
     In silken curls of ebon hue
     That with such wild luxuriance grew,
     The raven’s dark and glossy wing
     A richer shadow scarce could fling. 
     The brow that tells a tale of Care
     That Sorrow’s pen hath written there,
     In characters too deeply traced
     Ever on earth to be effaced,
     Was then a page of spotless white,
     Where Love himself might wish to write. 
     The jetty arches that did rise,
     As if to guard the brilliant eyes,
     Have lost their smoothness;—­and no more
     The eyes can sparkle as of yore: 
     They look like fountains form’d by tears,
     Where perish’d Hope in by-gone years. 
     The nose that served as bridge between
     The brow and mouth—­for Love, I ween,
     To pass—­hath lost its sculptured air. 
     For Time, the spoiler, hath been there. 
     The mouth—­ah! where’s the crimson dye
     That youth and health did erst supply? 
     Are these pale lips that seldom smile,
     The same that laugh’d, devoid of guile. 
     Shewing within their coral cell
     The shining pearls that there did dwell,
     But dwell no more?  The pearls are fled,
     And homely teeth are in their stead. 
     The cheeks have lost the blushing rose
     That once their surface could disclose;
     A dull, pale tint has spread around,
     Where rose and lily erst were found. 
     The throat, and bust—­but, ah! forbear,
     Let’s draw a veil for ever there;
     Too fearful is ’t to put in rhyme
     The changes wrought by cruel Time,
     The faithful mirror well reveals
     The truth that flattery conceals;
     The charms once boasted, now are flown,
     But mind and heart are still thine own;
     And thou canst see the wreck of years,
     And ghost of beauty, without tears. 
     No outward change thy soul shouldst wring,
     Oh! mourn but for the change within;
     Grieve over bright illusions fled,
     O’er fondly cherish’d hope, now dead,
     O’er errors of the days of youth,
     Ere wisdom taught the path of truth. 
     Then hail, ye blossoms of the grave,
     That o’er the care-worn temples wave—­
     Sent to remind us of “that bourn,
     Whence traveller can ne’er return;”
     The harbingers of peace and rest,
     Where only mortals can be blest.

CHAPTER XVIII.

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