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I had forgotten-but must not forget-
Smooth speech, his first and maidenly transgression
With this début, which made a strong impression, And rank'd with what is every day display'd"The best first speech that ever yet was made."
Proud of his "Hear hims!" proud too of his vote,
Proud of his learning (just enough to quote),
He revell'd in his Ciceronian glory :
With memory excellent to get by rote,
With wit to hatch a pun or tell a story,
Graced with some merit and with more effrontery,
There also were two wits by acclamation,
Longbow from Ireland, Strongbow from the Tweed, Both lawyers, and both men of education;
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.
Strongbow was like a new-tuned harpsichord;
But Longbow wild as an Æolian harp,
With which the winds of heaven can claim accord,
Of Strongbow's talk you would not change a word;
If all these seem a heterogeneous mass,
Is better than a humdrum tête-à-tête.
The days of comedy are gone, alas!
When Congreve's fool could vie with Molière's béle: Society is smoothed to that excess,
That manners hardly differ more than dress.
Our ridicules are kept in the back-ground,
Form'd of two mighty tribes, the Bores and Bored.
But from being farmers, we turn gleaners, gleaning
But when we can, we glean in this vile age
Kit-Cat, the famous conversationist,
Who, in his common-place book, had a page
Prepared each morn for evenings. "List, oh list !”"Alas, poor ghost!"-What unexpected woes Await those who have studied their bons-mots!
Firstly, they must allure the conversation
Lord Henry and his lady were the hosts;
The party we have touch'd on were the guests:
That happiness for man—the hungry sinner !-
Witness the lands which "flow'd with milk and honey," Held out unto the hungry Israelites :
To this we 've added since the love of money,
The only sort of pleasure which requites.
Youth fades, and leaves our days no longer sunny;
But oh, ambrosial cash! ah! who would lose thee?
The gentlemen got up betimes to shoot,
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.
The elderly walk'd through the library,
And tumbled books, or criticised the pictures,
Or on the morning papers read their lectures,
But none were géné: the great hour of union
The hours, which how to pass is but to few known,
The ladies-some rouged, some a little pale--
Sung, or rehearsed the last dance from abroad;
And settled bonnets by the newest code;
For some had absent lovers, all had friends.
Then there were billiards, cards too, but no dice;
Whatever Isaac Walton sings or says:
The quaint, old, cruel coxcomb, in his gullet
With evening came the banquet and the wine;
(My heart or head aches with the memory yet).
Sometimes a dance (though rarely on field-days,
Then there was small-talk ready when required;
Of charms that should or should not be admired;
The politicians, in a nook apart,
Discuss'd the world, and settled all the spheres,
A moment's good thing may have cost them years
And then, even then, some bore may make them lose it.
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.
They separated at an early hour;
That is, ere midnight-which is London's noon:
May the rose call back its true colours soon!