« PreviousContinue »
An orator, the latest of the session,
Smooth speech, his first and maidenly transgression Upon debate : the papers echoed yet
With this début, which made a strong impression,
And lost virginity of oratory,
He revell’d in his Ciceronian glory:
With wit to hatch a pun or tell a story,
Longbow from Ireland, Strongbow from the Tweed,
But Strongbow's wit was of more polish'd breed : Longbow was rich in an imagination
As beautiful and bounding as a steed, But sometimes stumbling over a potatoe,While Strongbow's best things might have come from Cato.
But Longbow wild as an Æolian harp,
And make a music, whether flat or sharp.
At Longbow's phrases you might sometimes carp:
To be assembled at a country-seat,
When Congreve's fool could vie with Molière's bete:
Ridiculous enough, but also dull ;
Professional ; and there is nought to cull
They ’re barren and not worth the pains to pullo
The scanty but right well thresh'd ears of truth ;
be Boaz, and 1-modest Ruth. Further I 'd quote, but Scripture, intervening,
Forbids. A great impression in my youth Was made by Mrs. Adams, where she cries " That Scriptures out of church are blasphemies.".
Of chaff, although our gleanings be not grist.
Kit-Cat, the famous conversationist,
Prepared each morn for evenings. “ List, oh list !"
Alas, poor ghost!"—What unexpected woes Await those who have studied their bons-mots !
XCVIII. Firstly, they must allure the conversation
By many windings to their clever clinch ; And secondly, must let slip no occasion,
Nor bate (abate) their hearers of an inch,
If possible ; and thirdly, never flinch
The party we have touch'd on were the guests :
To pass the Styx for more substantial feasts.
Albeit all human history attests
Held out unto the hungry Israelites :
The only sort of pleasure which requites.
We tire of mistresses and parasites ;
Or hunt; the young, because they like the sportThe first thing boys like after play and fruit :
The middle-aged, to make the day more short ; For ennui is a growth of English root,
Though nameless in our language; we retort The fact for words, and let the French translate That awful yawn which sleep cannot abate.
And tumbled books, or criticised the pictures,
And made upon the hot-house several strictures, Or rode a nag which trotted not too high,
Or on the morning papers read their lectures, Or on the watch their longing eyes would fix, Longing, at sixty, for the hour of six.
Was rung by dinner's knell; till then all were
Or solitary, as they chose to bear
Each rose up at his own, and had to spare
Met the morn as they might. If fine, they rode,
Sung, or rehearsed the last dance from abroad;
And settled bonnets by the newest code ;
The earth has nothing like a she-epistle,
I love the mystery of a female missal,
But full of cunning as Ulysses' whistle,
Save in the clubs no man of honour plays ;-
And the hard frosts destroy'd the scenting days:
Whatever Isaac Walton sings or says :
The conversazione ; the duet,
(My heart or head aches with the memory yet). The four Miss Rawbolds in a glee would shine ;
But the two youngest loved more to be set
For then the gentlemen were rather tired)
Then there was small-talk ready when required ;
Of charms that should or should not be admired ;
Discuss’d the world, and settled all the spheres, The wits watch'd every loop-hole for their art,
To introduce a bon mot, head and ears ; Small is the rest of those who would be smart,
A moment's good thing may have cost them years Before they find an hour to introduce it, And then, even then, some bore may make them lose it. СХ. But all was gentle and aristocratic
In this our party; polish'd, smooth, and cold, As Phidian forms cut out of marble Attic.
There now are no Squire Westerns, as of old; And our Sophias are not so emphatic,
But fair as then, or fairer to behold. We've no accomplish'd blackguards, like Tom Jones, But gentlemen in stays, as stiff as stones.
CXI. They separated at an early hour;
That is, ere midnight—which is London's noon) : But in the country ladies seek their bower
A little earlier than the waning moon. Peace to the slumbers of each folded flower
May the rose call back its true colours soon ! Good hours of fair cheeks are the fairest tinters, And lower the price of rouge_at least some winters.