Ernest De Lancey Pierson.

The merry muse; society verse by American writers online

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Well she knows a heart is broken ;

As for her's she cannot tell ;
But her bridal vows are spoken,

And Marie has married well.

In this game one should give heeding

To the stakes, not gentle arts ;
And, when diamonds are leading,

Where's the use of playing hearts ?
I congratulate her gladly ;

But the wish I can't dispel
That most girls may marry badly.

If Marie has married well.



THEY accuse me of flirting with Harry,
Who hasn't a cent to his name,
And certainly don't mean to marry ;
Such slander's a sin and a shame.

They say I've been often seen walking
With Harry alone on the rocks ;

We've been seen on the sand sitting talking,
Regardless of custom and frocks.

They say we were walking together
The day of that trip to the lake ;

And our losing our way in the heather,
They're certain was not a mistake.

At Rodick's, they frequently mention,
When laughter is noisy and loud,

We, with care to attract no attention,
Slip quietly off from the crowd.

One nasty old tabby's reported

She saw him one evening last week

(Good gracious ! how truth is distorted !)
Press a kiss on my too- willing cheek.


Such stories as these are invention ;

The truth in them simply is nil.
If I have done the things that they mention,

It wasit't with Harry 'twas Will!



HE RE'S a smile, and a glance, and a blush, and a sigh,
And perhaps, on occasion, a tear ;
There's a delicate touch of a hand, on the sly,
And a flower she may wear when he^s near ;

There's a note in her voice that but one may awake,
And a gleam in her blue (or brown) eye ;

There's a kiss on her lip that some fellow may take
(Now why the deuce isn't it I ?) ;

There's the turn of a~i ankle, the size of a waist,

And the way that she does up her hair ;
There's the fit of a glove, and, according to taste,

The tint of the dress she may wear ;

There are words that are often but semi-expressed,

And some are hid others below ;
For instance, a " yes " may be frequently guessed

Through a clearly reversible " no."

Yet her infinite change is her strongest of arms,
As the song says, "Femme souvent varie ; "

But what does she want with such numberless charms,
When one of them finishes me ?
n* 187



girl, these tiny slips of kid
Once your dear, dimpled digits hid,

And to your elbow pretty
They climbed without the least alarm ;
Or was it that they thought your arm
The fairest in the city ?

One finger's gone the middle right :
I use it, dear, when I indite

My rhymes by yellow tapers,
To shield my finger-nail from ink ;
How would you fare if you just think !

Lived on the comic papers ?

That night ! Can I forget that night ?
Again I see the candlelight,

And hear the rippling laughter ;
How many plates I passed between
The openings in that teakwood screen !

How soon 1 followed after !

I knew you feigned that stern surprise,
I knew it by your twinkling eyes ;

Besides, you know your chatter


Fell on a fascinated car
That time I bent my lips my dear,
I'll never breathe the matter.

But I've grown careless of my loves,
And am as bad at crossing gloves

As turning off a sonnet.
The sight of it just made me grow
A trifle warm, my dear, and so

I penned these verses on it.



> "T~*O the shy, sweet face that I saw this morning',,

* I toss this kiss from my window-sill,
And mayhap my partner will give me warning

If I shove not quicker my gray goose-quill.

I've t-.venty folios yet to fill.

So it's Blue Eyes, Down ! till this deed is drawn ;
For Maiden Lane's not a lover's lawn,

And the rattle of Broadway never is still.

From seal and parchment and dust-covered papers,
My thoughts fly back to her willy nil.

I lunch at Cable's on lamb and capers,
And a secret bumper I drain with Phil,
And I smile when he leaves me to pay the bill.

Oh, it's Blue Eyes, Down ! till this deed is drawn ;

For Maiden Lane's not a lover's lawn,
And the rattle of Broadway never is still.


My office is no conservatory ;

Its walls are like blanks for a clerk to fill ;
But that mignonette, jasmine, and morning-glory

The charms of a whole hot-house would kill

In the white vase there, on the window-sill.
But it's Blue Eyes, Down ! till this deed is drawn ;
For Maiden Lane's not a lover's lawn,

And the rattle of Broadway never is still.

Barristers! with brief-bags to fill,

It's Blue Eyes, Down ! till the deeds are drawn ;

For Maiden Lane's not a lover's lawn,
And the rattle of Broadway never is still.




JENNY, how many songs you've chased away!
To love, I own, is better far than singing.
A host of rhymes surrendered, dear, to-day,
Or perished in a peal of laughter ringing.

For how am I, by any dreamt-of means,
To write an Ode to Progress while you're smiling?

Or tell of orange-groves, or dreamy scenes

Of distant climes, with your sweet voice beguiling?

I've seen the Attic marbles' tinted grace,

And swung in hammocks 'neath a palace rafter,

But can I match a temple with your face,

Or weep for Pan before your mocking laughter?

If Pan is dead, you're very much alive !

And my rapt flights you are forever stopping !
I must be wary if I'd fill my hive,

And woo the Muse when you have gone out shopping!


(Aucassin and Nicollctte.)


"U7ITHIN the garden of Beaucaire

He met her by a secret stair ;
The night was centuries ago,
Said Aucassin, " My love, my pet,
These old confessors vex me so !
They threaten all the pains of hell
Unless I give you up, ma belle ; ' '
Said Aucassin to Nicollette.

" Now who should there in Heaven be
To fill your place, ma tres douce mie ?
To reach that spot I little care !
There all the droning priests are met ;
All the old cripple.?, too are there
That unto shrines and altars cling
To filch the Peter-pence we bring ; "
Said Aucassin to Nicollette.

1 1 There are the barefoot monks and friars
With gowns well-tattered by the briers,
The saints who lift their eyes and whine :
I like them not a starveling set !
Who'd care with folks like these to dine ?



The other road 'twere just as well

That you and I should take, ma belle ! ' r

Said Aucassin to Nicolctte.

"To Purgatory I would go
With pleasant comrades whom we know,
Fair scholars, minstrels, lusty Knights
Whose deeds the land will not forget,
The captains of a hundred fights.
True men of valor and degree :
Will join that gallant company, "-
Said Aucassin to Nicollette.

" There, too, are guests and joyancc rare,
And beauteous ladies debonair,
The pretty dames, the merry brides
Who with their wedded lords coquette
And have a friend or two besides
A-xl all in gold and trappings gay,
With furs, and crests in vairand gray ; "
Said Aucassin to Nicollete.

" Sweet players on the cithern strings
And they who roam the world like kings
Are gathered there so blithe and free !
Pardic I I'd join them now, my pet.
If you went also, ma douce mic '
The joys of heaven I'd forego
To have you with me there below, "-
Said Aucassin to Nicollette.



DRITHEE tell me, Dimple-Chin
At what age does Love begin r
Your blue eyes have scarcely seen
Summers three, my fairy queen ;
But a miracle of sweets,
Soft approaches, sly retreats,
Show the little Archer there,
Hidden in your pretty hair ;
When did'st learn a heart to win ?
Prithee tell me, Dimple-Chin !

" Oh ! " the rosy lips reply,
"I can't tell you if I try.

'Tis so long T can't remember :
Ask some younger lass than II"

Tell, O tell me, Grizzled -Face
Do your heart and head keep pace ?
When does hoary Love expire,
When do frosts put out the fire ?
Can its embers burn below


All that chill December snow ?
Care you still soft hands to press,
Bonny heads to smoothe and bless ?
When does Love give up the chase ?
Tell, O tell me, Grizzled -Face !

" Ah ! " the wise old lips reply,

"Youth may pass and strength may die ;
But of Love I can't foretoken :
Ask some older sage than I ! "



jUST where the Treasury's marble front
J Looks over Wall Street's mingled nations
Where Jews and Gentiles most are wont

To throng for trade and last quotations ;
Where, nour by hour, the rates of gold

Outrival, in the ears of people,
The quarter chimes, serenely tolled

From Trinity's undaunted steeple,

Even here I heard a strange, wild strain
Sound high above the modern clamor,

Above the cries of greed and gain,

The curbstone war, the auction's hammer ;

And swift on Music's misty ways,
It led, from all this strife of millions,

To ancient, sweet-do-nothing days
the kirtle-robed Sicilians.

And as it stilled the multitude,

And yet more joyous rose, and shriller,
I saw the minstrel where he stood

At ease against a Doric pillar :

I 7


One hand a droning organ played,

The other held a Pan's-pipe (fashioned

Like those of old) to lips that mad-

The reeds give out that strain impassioned.

Tvvas Pan himself had wandered here-

A-strolling through this sordid city.
And piping to the civic ear

The prelude of some pastoral ditty !
The demi-god had crossed the seas

From haunts of shepherd, nymph, and satyr,
And Syracusan times to these

Far shores and twenty centuries later.

A ragged cap was on his head ;

IKit hidden thus there was no doubting
That, all with crispy locks o'crspread,

His gnarled horns w^re somewhere sproutin \
His club-feet, cased in rusty shoes,

Were crossed, as 0:1 some frieze you see them,
And trousers, patched of divers hues.

Concealed his crooked shanks beneath them.

He filled the quivering reeds with sound,

And o'er his mouth their changes shifted.
And with his goat's eyes looked around

Where'er the passing current drifted ;
And soon, as on Trinacrian hills

The nymphs and herdsmen ran to hear him,
Even now the tradesmen from their tills,

With clerks and porters, crowded near him.


The bulls and bears together drew

From Jaunsey Court and New Street Alley,
As erst, if pastorals be true,

Came beasts from every wooded valley ;
The random passers stayed to list

A boxer /Egon, rough and merry,
A Broadway Daphnis, on his tryst

With Nais at the Brooklyn ferry.

A one-eyed Cyclops halted long

In tattered cloak of army pattern,
And Galatea joined the throng,

A blowzy, apple-vending slattern ;
While old Silenus staggered out

From some new-fangled lunch-house handy,
And badj the piper, with a shout,

To strike up Yankee Doodle Dandy !

A newsboy and a peanut girl

Like little Fauns began to caper ;
His hair was all in tangled curl,

Her tawny legs were bare and taper ;
And still the gathering larger grew,

And gave its pence and crowded nigher,
While aye the shepherd -minstrel blew

His pipe, and struck the gamut higher.

O heart of Nature, beating still

With throbs her vernal passion taught her


Even here, as on the vine-clad hill,

Or by the Arethusan water !
New forms may fold the speech, new lands

Arise within these ocean -portals
But Music waves eternal wands,

Enchantress of the souls of mortals !

So thought I but among us trod

A man in blue, with legal baton,
And scoffed the vagrant demi-god,

And pushed him from the step I sat on.
Doubting I mused upon the cry,

" Great Pan is dead ! " - and all the people
Went on their ways : and clear and high

The quarter sounded from the steeple.



'TEACH you French ? I will, my dear !

Sit and con your lesson here,
What did Adam say to Eve ?
Aimer, aimer ; c'est a vivre.

Don't pronounce the last word long ;
Make it short to suit the song ;
Rhyme it to your flowing sleeve,
Aimer, aimer ; c'est a vivre.

Sleeve I said, but what's the haim
If I really meant your arm ?
Mine shall twine it by your leave,
Aimer, aimer ; c'est a vivre.

Learning French is full of slips ;
Do as I do with the lips ;
Here's the right way, you perceive,
Aimer, aimer ; c\'st a vivre.

20 1


French is always spoken best
Breathing deeply from the chest ;
Darling, does your bosom heave ?
Aimer, aimer ; c" 1 est a vivre.

Now, my dainty little sprite,
Have I taught your lesson right :
Then what pay shall I receive ?
Aimer, aimer ; c'est a vivre.

Will you think me overbold
If I linger to be told
Whether you yourself believe
Aimer, aimer ; c" 1 est a vivre ?

Pretty pupil, when you say
All this French to me to-day,
Do you mean it, or deceive ?
Aimer, aimer ; c'esf a vivre.

Tell me, may I understand,
When I press your little hand,
That our hearts together cleave ?
Aimer, aimer ; fest a vivre.

Have you in your tresses room
For some orange buds to bloom,
May I such a garland weave ?
Aimer, aimer ; c'est a vivre.


Or, if I presume too much,
Teaching French by sense of touch,
Grant me pardon and reprieve !
slimer, aimer ; c'est a vivrc.

Sweetheart, no ! you cannot go !
Let me sit and hold you so ;
Adam did the same by Eve -
Aimer, aimer ; fest a vivre.


14 Dans tin grenier qti'on cst bien a vingt ans." 1 " 1



TTERE is the street the house is standing yet !

Four stories up the little window gleams.
The basement still announces tl Rooms to Let ; "

Through the wide door the dusty sunlight streams.
But how the place has changed ! Across the way

A tenement its swarming bulk uprears
'Twas here I weathered it for many a day,

With Youth and Hope for friends, at Twenty Years,

A small hall-room ! I seek it half by stealth

Who cares ? the world may know it if it will !
The worst is told. I had stout heart, good health,

A modest clerkship, wants more modest still ;
Companions, too (I had companions then !)

What room in all my " up-town palace " hears
Such peals of mirth as yonder little den

When I and Youth kept house, at Twenty Years !


'Twas here I brought my bride. In that dim place

The too brief summer of our joy first smiled.
Which of your carpet-knights, my queenly Grace,

To such a lot will woo your mother's child ?
Just powers ! how dared we to be gay and glad,

To face the world, unvexed by cramping fears ?
Rash? reckless ? We were mad ! how nobly mad

With the brave wine of Love and Twenty Years !

Once, as we listened at the window there,

In the warm sunlight of an April day,
A sound of loyal thunder filled the air

-The Massachusetts Sixth marched down Broadway.
O gallant hearts and times ! O drum and fife !

In '62 I joined the volunteers.
Poor wounded soldier, lonely waiting wife,

We learned what glory meant, at Twenty Years !

It's time to go. The place looks chill and drear.

Fate ! were it lot of mine to overlive
But half the happy days I've counted here,

I'd give what have I that I would not give ?
Again to struggle on, to breast the tide,

To know the worst of Fortune's frowns and fleers,
Brave heart within, my darling by my side,

And all the world to win, at Twenty Years !



He Speaks.
F)AINTED and perfumed, feathered and pink,

Here is your ladyship's fan.
You gave it to me to hold, I think.
While you danced with another man.

Downy and soft like your fluffy hair.

Pink like your delicate face,
The perfume you carry everywhere

Wafted from feathers and lace.

He Thinks.
Painted and perfumed, dainty and pink,

A toy to be handled with care ;
It is like your ladyship's self I think.

A trifle light as air.

For you are a wonderful triumph of art,

Like a Dresden statuette ;
But you cannot make havoc in my poor heart,

You innocent-faced coquette.

For I understand those enticing ways

You practice on every man ;
You are only a bit of paint and lace

Like that delicate toy your fan.




WOU dwell in a dove-cote, where tinkle
* The ornaments hung from the eaves,
Strange trees shade it ; blossoms besprinkle
The dark plumy leaves.

Tea-garden and temple and fountain,
From out the wide window you view ;

And yonder,' the snow-crested mountain
High up in the blue.

On bending your baby eyes nearer,

Where slumbers the still -watered moat,

You watch, like rose leaves on a mirror,
The lotos blooms float.

Your face is as brown as a berry,

In outline as round as a rose ;
Black slits of eyes, wakefully merry,

Slant down to your nose.

Your head, like a friar's, is shaven
How droll ! not a hair can one find,

Except the tuft, black as a raven,
That's twisted behind.



Around your form airily flutter

Fantastic and bright-colored " things " ;

You look like a gorgeous, rare butter-
Fly, resting its wings.

You've soft mats to romp on and tumble ;

Of furniture, though, there's not much ;
No breakage, to make grown folks grumble

No caution, " Don't touch ! "

Your world is so simple and sunny,
So pleasing and quaint to the eye

No wonder your plump face grows funny,
But never can cry.

We love you, Babe Bric-a-brac, dearly,
Though ne'er have we been to Japan ;

We know your wee dimpled face merely
Through this painted fan,




F)URE frost winds, on the winter's eve,

You play among my lady's tresses,
And pink as apple-bloom you leave

The cheeks that take your light caresses ;
But from her little hands begone !

By you they'll not be kissed nor bitten,
For over each is snugly drawn

A tiny pale-blue mitten.

The slender, perfume-haunted glove,

Erstwhile that hid her lily fingers,
Is not the shield that most they love,

Whereon a pressure honest lingers.
More shy, confiding, tender, true,

And softer than two curled-up kittens,
Are those dear dainty twins of blue,

My lady's little mittens.

Once at the play, when lights were low,

And down had dropped the great green curtain,

I took her hand ; we turned to go ;

Her fingers clasped o'er mine, I'm certain.



That sudden thrill I feel again,
That never could be told or written,

Whene'er I see or touch, as then,
Her downy little mitten.

Some memories those mittens hold,

And secrets, might one coax confession,
Ah, dearer than a gage of gold

I'd count if I could gain possession ;
Yet ask her I shall never dare,

Nor tell her how my heart is smitten,
For fear, in answer to my prayer,

She might " give me the mitten."



E 'twas years ago I found me
Moved by magic strange ;
All accustomed earth around me,

Dreamlike, felt the change.
Berthe was fair. I learned to love her

As a flower might do
For a moment's fondness of her

Fain had withered, too,
Such love, love does not discover ;

And she never knew.
Though to none could she be dearer,
Though my heart was far sincerer

Than the hearts of men,
What could come of all this loving ?
I was only ten.

Other eyes, full-orbed and tender,

Drop their curtains fine
With a timid half surrender,

Now, at glance of mine.


Praise, that elsewhere I seek vainly,

Tempts a soft reply,
Or she says, " I like you," plainly ;

Edith is not shy.
I but jest and laugh inanely,

Or repress a sigh.
Yes, I throw away the treasure
(Not without a sense of pleasure,

And a touch of pain).
What can come of all this loving ?
She is only ten.



I HEARD a rustle in the hall,

* Where erst we stood 'mid waning tapers ;

She met me in her breakfast- shawl,

Her crimps all twisted in curl-papers ;
The night before she looked a queen

In satin sheen and fluffy laces,
But now just where the rouge had been

Her powder-puff had left its traces.

Beneath the blazing chandelier

I felt so shy and she so wary,
My brain reeled with a sudden fear

That she might prove a lissome fairy
And vanish in a golden dream,

On gauzy wings, if zephyrs wooed her,
Away from aught that she might deem

The hateful bane of gross intruder.

Alas ! a tantalizing shade,

A cheat, she was, a vain delusion !
Is beauty ever thus to fade ?

My mind has reached this sad conclusion.
" Oh, face of nature, always true,"

The poet sang who never chaffed her ;
But, lovely women, ye are few

Whose faces lure " the morning after."



\ A USES and Graces appear !

Fountain Pierian flow !
Greuze in the spirit be near !

Aid me, O shade of Watteau !
Ancients and moderns a-row,

Strike me your worthiest strain,
Little my theme do I know
'Tis the young lady's First Train.

Ah ! in my heart there is fear,

Chill in its coming as snow ;
She who approacheth me here,

Stately and sweeping and slow
Could I have romped with her ? No,

This duchess ? oh, dream most profane!
All that was decades ago

'Tis the young lady's First Train.


How shall I suit her? It's clear

Battledore, racquet, and bow
Barred are and banned. In this sphere,

Certes, I'm somewhat de trop;
Still, we accustomed may grow,

Standing-ground common regain,
Even if presage of woe !

'Tis the young lady's First Train.


Comrades, to friend and to foe

Thus my changed bearing explain.

Say : " If aught's turned him a beau,
'Tis the young lady's First Train."



HEU fugaces ! where are they ?
The creeping day, the flying night,
The warmth, the color, clamor, light

Friend of the scythe and hour-glass say

Eheu fugaces ! where are they ?

Eheu fugaces ! where are they ?

The songs we sang, the cups we quaffed,
The eyes that shone, the lips that laughed

Old mower, went they by your way ?

Eheu fugaces ! where are they ?

Eheu fugaces ! where are they ?

The lights that lined the lonely street,
When homeward tripped the dainty feet

That fled against the glance of day

Eheu fugaces ! where are they ?

Eheu fugaces ! where are they

Who walked the ward, who trod the court ?

Stout fellows all for toil or sport ;
Ah, who shall break then he shall pay
Eheu fugaces ! where are they ?


Eheu fugaces ! where are they ?

The old jaw drops, the old veins freeze;

And where is Lil and where's Louise,
Whose kisses made a " yes " of " nay "
Eheu fugaces ! where are they ?

Eheu fugaces ! where are they ?

We've made our running, tossed our dice,
And Time's are loaded. In a trice

Perhaps a year, perhaps a day

They'll ask : " The garrulous and gray,

Eheu fugaces ! where are they ? "




HEN soft and sweet the summer moon

Smiled down, and all was peace,
And every pulse of mine kept tune.
I learned her name Felice.

First on the beach, then in the brine,
(Some thought it was my niece)

She laid her little hand in mine,
And said she was Felice.

And all who sat along the shore
And watched the tide's increase,

Knew I was Felix, o'er and o'er,
Did they think her Felice ?

Still swings on high the self- same moon
Still all around seems peace,

Still sit I on the sandy dune.
But where is she Felice ?

The summer moon still swings on high-
Oh, .summer, must you cease ?

Infelicissimus am I ?
But she is still Felice.



T AST night I lay on her breast ;
k To-day I lie at her feet ;
Then to her heart I was pressed ;
Now you tread on me, sweet !

Ah, lightly as possible pray
Grace for your rose of last night !

If perhaps I look faded to-day,

Are you quite so fresh in this light ?

And, though nice of you dropping that tear,

There are some who may think it my due
Did it never occur to you, dear,

That the flower may have wearied of you ?



A H, yes, there's a change in the weather ;

It does look a little like snow

Though in this recess it seems summer,

And around us these red roses blow.

There is scarcely a theme we've not touched on-
Secluded, but talking at large

From the latest lyric of Locker
To the very last freak of Lafargc.

And now it has come to the weather
As you say, there's a feeling of snow ;

But do you not think it was warmer
In this window one winter ago ?

Whose landscape, that one near the curtain ?

It is good ? I really don't know ;
I am thinking instead of the picture

Seen then where these Jacqueminots blow.

7A r A HA 1 - WIN DO H '

Just the same sweet profusion of roses,

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