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Then, when they caught my watching face,
Vanished as if by magic;
To strange, unwonted laughter,
Became the gloomier after,
ACT THE SECOND.
Yes: they were gone, the stage was bare,
Blank as before ; and therefore, Sinking within the patient's chair,
Half vexed, I knew not wherefore, I dozed ; till, startled by some call,
A glance sufficed to show me, The boy again above the wall,
The girl erect below me.
The boy, it seemed, to add a force
To words found unavailing,
Half through the blistered paling,
While he, in exultation, Chattered some half-articulate
Meanwhile, the girl, with upturned face,
Stood motionless, and listened ; The ill-cut frock had gained a grace,
The pale hair almost glistened ; The figure looked alert and bright,
Buoyant as though some power Had lifted it, as rain at night
Uplifts a drooping flower.
The eyes had lost their listless way,
The old life, tired and faded,
Before her feet, degraded ;
In those bright eyes above her
Where even Nurse would love her.
Ah, tyrant Time! you hold the book,
We, sick and sad, begin it; You close it fast, if we but look
Pleased for a meagre minute ; You closed it now, for, out of sight,
Some warning finger beckoned ; Exeunt both to left and right ;
Thus ended Act the Second.
ACT THE THIRD.
Or so it proved. For while I still
ever, Half raised above the window sill,
I saw the lattice quiver ;
Flushed, while the round mouth pouted ; “Give Tom a kiss,” the red lips said,
In style the most undoubted.
The girl came back without a thought;
Dear Muse of Mayfair, pardon,
In this neglected garden ;
So, seeing none dissented,
Manners were not invented.
Then on the scene,-by happy fate,
When lip from lip had parted,
A sharp-faced nurse-maid darted ;
Upon a rover chicken,
And bore him sourly off, despite
His well-directed kicking.
The girl stood silent, with a look
Too subtle to unravel,
The torn doll from the gravel ; Hid the whole face, with one caress,
Under the garden-bonnet,
Kiss after kiss upon it.
Exeunt omnes. End of play.
It made the dull room brighter, The Gladiator almost gay,
And e'en “ The Lancet" lighter.
AN AUTUMN IDYLL.
“Sweet Themmes! runne softly, till I end my song."
Push the boat in, and throw the rope ashore. Jack, hand me out the claret and the glasses ;
Here let us sit. We landed here before.
Bent in a dream above the “ water wan,"
There by the pollards, where you see the swan?
Gaunt as a wolf,—the sly old privateer !
Exit the gudgeon. Let us anchor here.