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THE IDYLL OF THE CARP
(The SCENE is in a garden,—where you please,
HESE, DENISE, are my Suitors!
I feed them daily here at morn and night
Make haste, Messieurs! Make haste, then! Hurry. See,—
See how they swim!
Would you not say,
Some crowd of Courtiers in the audience hall,
When the King comes?
Not at all.
Watch but the great one yonder! There's the Duke ;
Those gill-marks mean his Order of St. Luke; Those old skin-stains his boasted quarterings. Look what a swirl and roll of tide he brings; Have you not marked him thus, with crest in air, Breathing disdain, descend the palace-stair? You surely have, DENISE
I think I have.
But there's another, older and more grave,The one that wears the round patch on the
And swims with such slow fins. Is he of note?
Why that's my good chambellan—with his seal. A kind old man !-he carves me orange-peel
In quaint devices at refection-hours, Equips my sweet-pouch, brings me morning flowers,
Or chirrups madrigals with old, sweet words, Such as men loved when people wooed like birds
And spoke the true note first. No suitor he, Yet loves me too,-though in a graybeard's key.
Look, Madam, look !—a fish without a stain ! O speckless, fleckless fish! Who is it, pray, That bears him so discreetly?
FONTENAY. You know him not? My prince of shining locks!
My pearl !-my Phoenix !-my pomander-box!
Ai! what a splash !
Who is it comes with such a sudden dash Plump i' the midst, and leaps the others clear?
Ho! for a trumpet! Let the bells be rung!
I'd rather wear
E'en such a pinched and melancholy air, that motley one, who keeps the
As his, wall,
And hugs his own lean thoughts for carnival.
My frankest wooer! Thus his love he telis
As Cowards War,-as young Maids Constancy.
"He loves?-he loves?" Why all this loving's
And "Naught (quoth JACQUOT) makes the sum of Love!"
The cynic knave ! How call you this one
This small shy-looking fish, that hovers near,
CHERUBIN, the page.
'Tis but a child, yet with that roguish smile, And those sly looks, the child will make hearts ache
Not five years hence, I prophesy. Meanwhile,