She sings—sweeter far than
(A sound which I never have heard);
She plays—and her fingers most nimble
Make music more soft than a bird.
She speaks—’tis like melody stealing
O’er the Mediterranean sea;
She smiles—I am instantly kneeling
On each gouty and corpulent knee.
’Tis night! the pale moon shines
(Where else it should shine I don’t know),
And like fire-flies the Pleiades seven
Are winking at mortals below:
Let them wink, if they like it, for ever,
My heart they will ne’er lead astray;
Nor the soft silken memories sever,
Which bind me to Alice De Grey.
If I roam thro’ the dim Coliseum,
Her fairy form follows me there;
If I list to the solemn “Te Deum,”
Her voice seems to join in the prayer.
“Sweet spirit” I seem to remember,
O would she were near me to hum it;
As I heard her in sunny September,
On the Rigi’s aerial summit!
O Alice where art thou? No answer
Comes to cheer my disconsolate heart;
Perhaps she has married a lancer,
Or a bishop, or baronet smart;
Perhaps, as the Belle of the ball-room,
She is dancing, nor thinking of me;
Or riding in front of a small groom;
Or tossed in a tempest at sea;
Or listening to sweet Donizetti,
In Venice, or Rome, or La Scala;
Or walking alone on a jetty;
Or buttering bread in a parlour;
Perhaps, at our next merry meeting,
She will find me dull, married, and gray;
So I’ll send her this juvenile greeting
On the Eve of St. Valentine’s day.
A CURATE’S COMPLAINT.
Where are they all departed,
The loved ones of my youth,
Those emblems white of purity,
Sweet innocence and truth?
When day-light drives the darkness,
When evening melts to night,
When noon-day suns burn brightest,
They come not to my sight.
I miss their pure embraces
Around my neck and throat,
The thousand winning graces
Whereon I used to dote.
I know I may find markets
Where love is bought and sold,
But no such love can equal
The tender ties of old.
My gentle washer-woman,
I know that you are true;
The least shade of suspicion
Can never fall on you.
Then fear me not, as fiercely
I fix on thee stern eyes,
And ask in terms emphatic,
“Where are my lost white ties?”
Each year I buy a dozen,
Yet scarce a year is gone,
Ere, looking in my ward-robe,
I find that I have none.
I don’t believe in magic,
I know that you are true,
Yet say, my washer-woman,
What can those white ties do?
Does each with her own collar
To regions far elope,
Regions by starch untainted,
And innocent of soap?
I know not; but in future
I’ll buy no more white ties,
But wear the stiff ‘all-rounder’
Of Ritualistic guise.