Have rather dropp d that thread, as I was saying.
But though he d neither frenzy in his eye,
Nor much of outer mark the bard betraying
(A thing he piqued himself on, by the by )
His conversation frequently arose
To what was thought a goodly flight for prose.
His beau ideal was to sink the attic
(Though not by birth, nor taste, " the salt above " )
To pitilessly cut the air erratic
Which ladies, fond of authors, so much love,
And be, in style, calm, cold, aristocratic
Serene in faultless boots and primrose glcve.
But th exclusive s made of starch, not honey !
And Jules was cordial, joyous, frank, and funny.
This was one secret of his popularity,
Men hate a manner colder than their own,
And ladies bless their hearts ! love chaste hilarity
Better than sentiment if truth were known !
And Jules had one more slight peculiarity
He d little " approbativeness " or none
And what the critics said concern d him little
Provided it touch d not his drink and victual.
Critics, I say of course he was in print
" Poems," of course of course " anonymous "
56 TUB LADY JANE.
Of course he found a publisher by dint
Of search most diligent, and far more fuss
Than chemists make in melting you a flint.
Since that experiment he reckons plus
Better manure than minus for his bays
In short, seeks immortality "that pays."
He writes in prose the public like it better.
Well let the public ! You may take a poet,
And he shall write his grandmother a letter,
And, if he s anything but rhyme he ll show it.
Prose may be poetry without its fetter,
And be it pun or pathos, high or low wit,
The thread will show its gold, however twisted
(I wish the public flatter d me that this did !)
No doubt there s pleasant stuff that ill unravels.
I fancy most of Moore s would read so-so,
Done into prose of pious Mr. FlavePs
(That is my Sunday reading so I know,)
Yet there s Childe Harold excellent good travels -
And what could spoil sweet Robinson Crusoe ?
But though a clever verse-r makes a prose-r,
About the vice-versa, I don t know, sir !
Verser s a better word than versifier,
(Unless tis verse on fire, you mean to say,)
And I ve long thought there s something to desire
In poet s nomenclature, by the way.
It sounds but queer to laud " the well-known lyre "-
Call a dog " poet ! " he will run away
THE LADY JANE. 157
And " songster," "rhymester," "bard," and poetaster,"
Are customers they re shy of at the Astor.
A " scribbler s " is a skittish reputation,
And weighs a man down like a hod of mortar.
Commend a suitor s wit, imagination
The merchant may think of him. for his daughter ;
But say that "he writes poetry" n !
Her "Pa" would rather throw her in the water !
And yet when poets wed, as facts will prove,
Their bills stand all at pa, they much above /
Jules had a hundred minds to cut the muses ;
And sometimes did, " for ever ! " (for a week !
He found for time so many other uses.
His superfluity was his physique ;
And exercise, if violent, induces
Blood to the head and flush upon the cheek ;
And, (though details are neither here nor there,)
Makes a man sit uneasy on his chair ;
Particularly that of breaking horses.
The rate of circulation in the blood,
Best suited to the meditative forces,
Is quite as far from mercury as mud
That of the starry, not the racing-courses.
No man can trim his style mid fire and flood,
Nor in a passion, nor just after marriage ;
And, as to Caesar s writing in his carriage,
158 THE LADY JANE.
Credat Judseus ! Thought is free and easy ;
But language, unless wrought with labor limce,
Is not the kind of thing, sir, that would please ye !
The bee makes honey, but his toil is thymy,
And nothing is well done until it tease ye ;
(Tho if there s one who would twere not so, I m he !)
Now Jules, I say, found out that filly-breaking,
Though monstrous fun, was not a poet s making.
True some drink up to composition s glow ;
Some talk up to it -wide Neckar s daughter !
But when the temp rature s a fourth too low,
Of course you make up the deficient quarter !
Like Byron s atmosphere, which, chemists know,
Required hydrogen (more gin and water.)
And Jules s sanguine humour was too high,
So, of the bottle he had need be shy !
And of society, which makes him thin
With fret and fever, and of sunny sky
Father of idleness, the poet s sin !
(John Bull should be industrious, by the by,
If clouds without concentrate thought within.)
In short, the lad could fag (I mean soar high)
Only by habits, which (if Heaven let her choose)
His mother would bequeath as Christian virtues !
Now men have oft been liken d unto streams :
(And, truly, both are prone to run down hill,
THE LADY JANE. 159
And seldom brawl when dry, or so it seems !)
And Jules, when he had brooded, long and still
At the dim fountain of the poet s dreams,
Felt suddenly his veins with frenzy fill ;
And, urged, as by the torrent s headlong force,
Ruthlessly rode if he could find a horse.
Yes, sir he had his freshets like a river,
And horses were his passion so he rode,
When he his prison d spirits would deliver,
As if he fled from some man whom he owed
And glorious, to him, the bounding quiver
Of the young steed in terror first bestrode !
Thrilling as inspiration the delay
The arrowy spring the fiery flight away !
Such riding galls the Muses, (though we know
Old Pegasus s build is short and stocky,)
But I d a mind by these details to show
What Jules might turn out, were the Muses baulky.
This hint to his biographer I throw
In Jules, the bard, was spoil d a famous jockey !
Though not at all to imitate Apollo !
Horse him as well, he d beat that dabster hollow !
Tis one of the proprieties of story
To mark the change in heroes, stage by stage ;
And therefore I have tried to lay before ye
The qualities of Jules s second age.
It should wind up with some memento mori
But we ll defer that till we draw the sa#e.
i6o THE LADY JANE.
The moral s the last thing, (I say with pain,)
And now let s turn awhile to Lady Jane.
The Earl, I ve said, was in his idiocy,
And Lady Jane not well. They therefore hired
The summer palace of Ptospigliosi,
To get the sun as well as be retired.
You shouldn t fail, I think, this spot to go see
That s if you care to have your fancy fired
It s out of Rome it strikes me on a steep hill
A sort of place to go with nice people.
It looks affectionate, with all its splendour
As lovable as ever look d a nest ;
A palace, I protest, that makes you tender,
And long for fol de rol, and all the rest.
Guido s Aurora s there you couldn t mend her :
And Samson, by Caracci not his best ;
But pictures I can talk of to the million
To yon, I ll just describe one small pavilion.
It s in the garden just below the palace;
I think, upon the second terrace no
The first yes, tis the first the orange alleys
Lead from the first flight down precisely so !
Well half-way is a fountain, where, with malice
In all his looks, a Cupid hem ! you know
You needn t notice that you hurry by,
And lo ! a fairy structure fills your eye.
THE LADY JANE. 161
A crescent colonnade folds in the sun,
To keep it for the wcoing South wind only
A thing I wonder is not oftener done,
(The crescent, not the wooing that s my own lie,)
For there are months, and January s one,
When winds are chill, and life indoors gets lonely,
And one quite longs, if wind would keep away,
To sing i the sunshine, like old King Rene".
The columns are of marble, white as light :
The structure low, yet airy, and the floor
A tesselated pavement, curious quite,
Of the same fashion in and out of door.
The Lady Jane, who kept not warm by sight,
Had carpeted this pavement snugly o er,
And introduced a stove, (an open Rumford)
So the pavilion had an air of comfort.
" The frescoes on the ceiling really breathe,"
The guide-books say. Of course they really see :
And, as I tell you what went on beneath,
Of course those naked goddesses told me.
They saw two rows of dazzling English teeth,
Employ d, each morn, on " English toast and tea ;"
And once, when Jules came in, they strain d their eyes,
But didn t see the teeth, to their surprise.
The Lady Jane smiled not. Her lashes hung
Low to the soft eye, and so still they lay,
1 62 THE LADY JANE
Jules knew a tear was hid their threads among,
And that she fear d twould gush and steal away.
The kindly greeting trembled on her tongue,
The hand s faint pressure chill d his touch like clay,
And Jules with wonder felt the world all changing,
With but the cloud of one fond heart s estranging.
Oh it is darkness to lose love ! howe er
We little prize the fond heart fond no more !
The bird, dark-wing d on earth, looks white in air !
Unrecognized are angels, till they soar !
And few so rich they may not well beware
Of lightly losing the heart s golden ore !
Yet hast thou love too poor for thy possessing ?
Loose it, like friends to death, with kiss and blessing !
You re naturally surprised, that Lady Jane
Loved Mr. Jules. (He s Mr. now not Master/)
The fact s abruptly introduced, it s plain ;
And possibly I should have made it last a
Whole Canto, more or less but I ll explain.
Lumping the sentiment one gets on faster !
Though it s in narrative an art .quite subtle,
To work all even, like a weaver s shuttle.
Good " characters " in tales are " well brought up "
(Though, by this rule, my Countess Pasibleu
Is a bad character yet, just to sup,
I much prefer her house to a church pew )
But, pouring verse for readers, cup by cup,
So much a week, what is a man to do ?
THE LADY JANE.
" Tis wistid that if a story you begin, you d
Malce separate scenes of each To be continued, "
So writes plain " Jonathan," who tills my brains
With view to crop (the seed being ready money
And if the " small-lot system " bring him gains,
He has a right to fence off grave from funny-
Working me up, as twere, in window-panes,
And, I must own, where one has room to run, he
Is apt, as Cooper does, to spread it thin,
So now I ll go to lumping it again !
" Love grows, by what " it gives to feed another,
And not by what " it feeds on." ; Tis divine,
If anything s divine besides the mother
Whose breast, self-blessing, is its holy sign.
Much better than a sister loves a brother
The Lady Jane loved Jules, and " line by line,
Precept by precept," furmsh d him advice :
Also much other stuff he thought more nice.
She got him into sundry pleasant clubs,
By pains that women can take, though but few will !
She made most of him when he got most rubs ;
And once, in an inevitable duel,
She follow d him alone to Wormwood Scrubs
But not to hinder ! Faith ! she was a jewel !
I wish the star all manner of festivity
That shone upon her Ladyship s nativity !
164 THE LADY JANE.
All sorts of enviable invitations,
Tickets, and privileges, got she him ;
Gave him much satin waistcoat, work d with patience,
(Becoming to a youth so jimp and slim)
Cut for his sake some prejudiced relations,
And found for him in church the psalm and hymn ;
Sent to his " den " some things not found in Daniel s,
And kept him in kid gloves, cologne, and flannels.
To set him down upon her way chez elle,
She stay d unreasonably late at parties ;
To introduce him to a waltzing belle
She sometimes made a cessio dignitatis ;
And one kind office more that I must tell
She sent her maid, (and very stern your heart is
If charity like this you find a sin in,)
In church-time, privately, to air his linen.
Was Jules ungrateful ? No ! Was he obtuse ?
Did he believe that women s hearts were flowing
With tenderness, like water in a sluice,
Like the sun s shining, like the breeze s blowing,
And fancy thanking them was not much use ?
Had he the luck of intimately knowing
Another woman, quite as kind, and nicer ?
Had he a " friend " sub rosa ? No, sir ! Fie, sir !
Then why neglect her ? Having said he did,
I will explain, as Brutus did his stab,
THE LADY JANE. 165
(Though by my neighbours I m already chid
For getting on so very like a crab)
Jules didn t call, as oft as he was bid,
Because in Rome he didn t keep a cab
A fact that quite explains why friendships, marriages,
And other ties depend on keeping carriages.
Without a carriage men should have no card,
Nor " owe a call " at all except for love.
And friends who need that you the " lean earth lard "
To give their memories a pasteboard shove,
On gentlemen a-foot bear rather hard !
It s paying high for Broadway balls, by Jove !
To walk next day half way to Massachusett
And leave your name on ladies that won t use it.
It really should be taught in infant schools
That the majority means men, not dollars ;
And, therefore, that, to let the rich make rules,
Is silly in " poor pretty little scholars."
And this you see is apropos of Jules,
Who call d as frequently as richer callers
While he d a cab ; but courtesy s half horse
A secret those who ride keep snug, of course.
I say while he was Centaur, (horse and man,)
Jules never did neglect the Lady Jane ;
And, at the start it was my settled plan,
(Though I ve lost sight of it, I see with pain,)
To show how moderate attentions can,
If once she love, a woman s heart retain.
1 66 THE LADY JANE.
True love is weak and humble, though so brittle ;
And asks, tis wonderful how very little !
For instance Jules s every-day routine
Was, breakfast at his lodgings, rather early ;
A short walk in the nearest Park, the Green ;
(Where, if address d he was extremely surly ;)
Five minutes at the Club, perhaps fifteen ;
Then giving his fine silk moustache a curl, he
Stepp d in his cab and drove to Belgrave Square,
Where he walk d in with quite a household air.
And here he pass d an hour or two, or three
Just as it served his purpose, or his whim ;
And sweeter haunt on earth could scarcely be
Than that still boudoir, rose-lit, scented, dim
Its mistress, elsewhere all simplicity,
Dress d ever sumptuously there for him !
With all that taste could mould, or gold could buy,
Pampering fondly his reluctant eye.
And on the silken cushions at her feet
He daily dream d these morning hours away,
Troubling himself but little to be sweet.
Poets are fond of reverie, they say,
But not with ladies whom they rarely meet.
And if you love one, madam, (as you may ! )
And wish his wings to pin as with a skewer,
Be careful of all manner of toujonrs!
THE LADY JANE. 167
" Toujours perdrix" snipe, woodcock, trout, or rabbit
Offends the simplest palate, it appears,
And, (if a secret, I m disposed to blab it,)
It s much the same with smiles, sighs, quarrels, tears.
The fancy mortally abhors a habit !
(Not that which Seraphina s bust inspheres ! )
E en one-tuned music-boxes breed satiety,
Unless you keep of them a great variety.
Daily to Jules the sun rose in the East,
And brought new milk and morning paper daily ;
The " yield" of both the Editor and beast,
Great mysteries, unsolved by Brown or Paley ;
But Jules not plagued about it in the least
Read his gazette, and drank his tea quite gaily ;
And Lady Jane s fond love and cloudless brow
Grew to be like the Editor and cow.
I see you understand it. One may dash on
A colour here stroke there and lo ! the story
And, speaking morally, this outline fashion
Befits a world so cramm d yet transitory.
I ve sketch d for you a deep and tranquil passion
Kindled while nursing up a bard for glory ;
And, having whisk d you for that end to London,
Let s back to Italy, and see it undone.
Fair were the frescoes of Rospigliosi
Bright the Italian sunshine on the wall
1 68 THE LADY JANE.
The day delicious and the room quite cozy
And yet there were two bosoms full of gall !
So lurks the thorn in paths long soft and rosy !
Jules was not one whom trifles could appal,
But few things will make creep the lion s mane
Like ladies in a miff who won t explain !
Now I have seen a hadji and a cadi
Have sojourn d among strangers, oft and long
Have known most sorts of women, fair and shady,
And mingled in most kinds of mortal throng
But, in my life, I never saw a lady
Who had, the least, the air of being wrong !
The fact is, there s a nameless grace in evil
We never caught twas she who saw the devil !
In pedigree of sin we re mere beginners
For what was Adam to the " morning star " 1
She would take precedence if sins were dinners,
And hence that self-assured "de haut en bas"
So unattainable by men, as sinners.
Of course, she plays the devil in a fracas
Frowns better, looks more innocent, talks faster,
And argues like her grandmother s old master !
And in proportion as the angel fades
As love departs the crest of woman rises
Even in passion s softer, lighter shades,
With aristocracy s well-bred disguises ;
For, with no tragic fury, no tirades,
A lady looks a man into a crisis !
THE LADY JANE. 169
And, to most any animal carnivorous
Before a belle aggrieved, the Lord deliver us !
Jules had one thing particular to say,
The morn I speak of, but, in fact, was there,
With twenty times the mind to be away.
Uncomfortable seem d the stuff d arm-chair
In which the Earl would sometimes pass the day ;
And there was something Roman in the air ;
For every effort to express his errand
Ended in " Urn ! " as twere a Latin gerund.
He had received a little billet-doux
The night before as plain as A B C
(I mean, it would appear as plain to you,
Though very full of meaning, you ll agree)
Informing him that by advice quite new
The Earl was going now to try the sea ;
And begging him to have his passport vised
For Yenice, by Bologna if he pleased !
Smooth as a melody of Mother Goose s
The gentle missive elegantly ran
A sort of note the writer don t care who sees,
For you may pick a flaw in t if you can
But yet a stern experimentum crucis,
Quite in the style of Metternich, or Van,
And meant without more flummery or fuss
Stay with your Marchioness or come witli us !
1 7 o THE LADY JANE.
Here was to be " a parting such as wrings
The blood from out young hearts " for Jules would stay!
The bird she took unfledged had got its wings,
And, though its cage be gold, it must away !
But this, and similar high-colour d things,
Refinement makes it difficult to say ;
For, higher " high life " is, (this side an attic,)
The more it shrinks from all that looks dramatic.
Hence, words grow cold as agony grows hot,
Twixt those who see in ridicule a Hades ;
And though the truth but coldly end the plot,
(There really is no pathos for you, ladies !)
Jules cast the die with simple " I think not ! "
And her few words were guarded as he made his,
For rank has one cold law of Moloch s making
Death, before outcry, while the heart is breaking /
She could not tell that boy how hot the tear
That seem d within her eyeball to have died
She could not tell him her exalted sphere
Had not a hope his boyish love beside :
The grave of anguish is a human ear
Hers lay unburied in a pall of pride !
And life, for her, thenceforth, was cold and lonely,
With her heart lock d on that dumb sorrow only !
Calm, in her "pride of place," moves Lady Jane
Paler, but beautifully pale, and cold
THE LADY JANE. 171
So cold, the gazer believes joy nor pain
Has o er that pulse of marble ever roll d.
She loved too late to dream of love again,
And rich, fair, noble, and alone, grows old !
A star, on which a spirit had alighted
Once, in all time, were like a life so blighted !
So, from the poet s woof was broke a thread
Which we have follow d in its rosy weaving !
Yet merrily, still on, the shuttle sped.
Jules was not made of stuff to die of grieving ;
But, that an angel from his path had fled,
He was not long in mournfully believing.
And " angel watch and ward " had fled with her
For, virtuously loved, tis hard to err !
Poets are moths, (or so some poet sings,
Or so some pleasant allegory goes,)
And Jules at many a bright light burnt his wings.
His first chaste scorching the foregoing shows ;
But, while one passion best in metre rings,
Another is best told in lucid prose.
As to the Marchioness, I ve half a plan, sir !
To limn her in the quaint Spenserian stanza.
172 THE LADY JANE.
TO THE READER.
And now, dear reader ! as a brick may be
A sample of a house a bit of glass
Of a broad mirror it has seem d to me
These fragments for a tale may shift to pass.
(I am a poet much cut up, pardie !)
But " shorts " is poor "to running loose to grass."
Where there s a meadow to range freely over,
You pick to please you timothy or clover.
Without the slightest hint at transmigration,
I wish hereafter we may meet in calf!
That you may read me with some variation
This when you re moody that when you would laugh.
In that case, I may swell this true narration,
And blow off here and there a speech of chaff.
I trust you think, that, were there more twere better, or
If cetera desunt, decent were the cetera !
P. S. I really had forgotten quite
To say to you, from Countess Pasibleu
(Dying, tis thought, but quite too ill to write)
Her Ladyship s best compliments to you,
And she s ton jours chez elle on Friday night,
(Buckingham Crescent, May Fair, No. 2.)
This, (as her written missive would have said,)
Always in case her Ladyship s not dead.
LORD I VON AND HIS DAVGKTER.
Argument. The poet starts from the Bowling Green,* to take his sweet
heart up to Thompson s f for an ice, or (if she is inclined for more) ices.
He confines his muse to matters which any every-day man and young woman
may see in taking the same promenade for the same innocent refreshment.
COME out, love the night is enchanting !
The moon hangs just over Broadway ;
The stars are all lighted and panting
(Hot weather up there, I dare say !)
Tis seldom that " coolness" entices,
And love is no better for chilling
But come up to Thompson s for ices,
And cool your warm heart for a shilling
What perfume comes balmily o er us 1
Mint juleps from City Hotel !
A loafer is smoking before us
(A nasty cigar, by the smell !)
Woman ! thou secret past knowing !
Like lilacs that grow by the wall,
You breathe every air that is going,
Yet gather but sweetness from all !
On, on ! by St. Paul s, and the Astor !
Religion seems very ill-plann d !
For one day we list to the pastor,
For six days we list to the band !
* At the time, 1830-40, surrounded by fashionable residences,
t A famous restaurant.
1 76 THE WHITE CHIP HAT.
The sermon may dwell on the future,
The organ your pulses may calm
When pest ! that remember d cachucha
Upsets both the sermon and psalm !
Oh, pity the love that must utter
While goes a swift omnibus by !
(Though sweet is / scream * when the nutter
Of fans shows thermometers high)
But if what I bawl, or I mutter,
Falls into your ear but to die,
Oh, the dew that falls into the gutter
Is not more unhappy than I !
THE WHITE CHIP HAT.
I PASS D her one day in a hurry,
When late for the post with a letter
I think near the corner of Murray
And up rose my heart as I met her !
I ne er saw a parasol handled
So like to a duchess s doing
I ne er saw a slighter foot sandall d,
Or so fit to exhale in the shoeing
Lovely thing !
Surprising ! one woman can dish us
So many rare sweets up together !
Tournure absolutely delicious
Chip hat without flower or feather
Well-gloved and enchantingly boddiced,
Her waist like the cup of a lily
Query. Should this be Ice cream, or / scream ? Printer s Dciil.
LADY IN THE WHITE DRESS. 177
And an air, that, while daintily modest,
Repell d both the saucy and silly
Quite the thing !
For such a rare wonder you ll say, sir,
There s reason in straining one s tether
And, to see her again in Broadway, sir,
Who would not be lavish of leather !
I met her again, and as you know
I m sage as old Voltaire at Ferney
But I said a bad word for my Juno
Look d sweet on a sneaking attorney
Horrid thing !
Away flies the dream I had nourish d
My castles like mockery fall, sir !