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Some new Neæra's tangled hair—
Some easier Amaryllis."
I cannot promise to be cold
If smiles are kind as yours of old
On lips of later beauties;
Nor can I hope to quite forget
The homage that is Nature's debt,
While man has social duties;
But, if you ask shall I prefer
To you I honour so
A somewhat visionary Her,
I answer truly-No.
You fear, you frankly add, "to find
In me too late the altered mind
That altering Time estranges." To this I make response that we (As physiologists agree),
Must have septennial changes; This is a thing beyond control, And it were best upon the whole
To try and find out whether
We could not, by some means, arrange
This not-to-be-avoided change
So as to change together:
But, had you asked me to allow
That you could ever grow
But to be serious-if you care
To know how I shall really bear
This much-discussed rejection,
I answer you. As feeling men
Behave, in best romances, when
You outrage their affection ;-
With that gesticulatory woe,
By which, as melodramas show,
Despair is indicated;
Enforced by all the liquid grief
Which hugest pocket-handkerchief
Has ever simulated;
And when, arrived so far, you say
In tragic accents "Go,"
Then, Lydia, then . . . I still shall stay,
And firmly answer No.
A GAGE D'AMOUR.
(HORACE, III, 8.)
"Martiis cælebs quid agam Kalendis,
'HARLES,-for it seems you wish to know,-
You wonder what could scare me so,
And why, in this long-locked bureau,
With trembling fingers,-
With tragic air, I now replace
This ancient web of yellow lace,
Among whose faded folds the trace
Of perfume lingers.
Friend of my youth, severe as true,
I guess the train your thoughts pursue;
But this my state is nowise due
I had forgotten it was there,
A scarf that Some-one used to wear.
Hinc illa lacrima,—so spare
Some-one who is not girlish now,
And wed long since. We meet and bow;
I don't suppose our broken vow
Affects us keenly;
Yet, trifling though my act appears,
Your Sternes would make it ground for tears ;-
One can't disturb the dust of years,
And smile serenely.
"My golden locks" are gray and chill, For hers,-let them be sacred still; But yet, I own, a boyish thrill
Went dancing through me,
Charles, when I held yon yellow lace;
For, from its dusty hiding-place,
Peeped out an arch, ingenuous face
That beckoned to me.
We shut our heart up, now-a-days,
Like some old music-box that plays
Unfashionable airs that raise
Alas,- -a nothing starts the spring;
And lo, the sentimental thing
At once commences quavering
Its lover's ditty.
Laugh, if you like. The boy in me,—
The boy that was,-revived to see
The fresh young smile that shone when she,
Of old, was tender.
Once more we trod the Golden Way,-
That mother you saw yesterday,
And I, whom none can well portray
As young, or slender.
She twirled the flimsy scarf about
Her pretty head, and stepping out,
Slipped arm in mine, with half a pout
Of childish pleasure.
Where we were bound no mortal knows,
For then you plunged in Ireland's woes,
And brought me blankly back to prose
And Gladstone's measure.
Well, well, the wisest bend to Fate.
My brown old books around me wait,
My pipe still holds, unconfiscate,
Its wonted station.
Pass me the wine. To Those that keep
The bachelor's secluded sleep
Peaceful, inviolate, and deep,
I pour libation.