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Abroad in society, I've instituted
A course of inquiry, extensive and thorough,
On this vital subject, and find, to my horror,
That the fair Flora's case is by no means surprising:
But that there exists the greatest distress
In our female community, solely arising
From this unsupplied destitution of dress, Whose unfortunate victims are filling the air With the pitiful wail of "Nothing to wear."
Researches in some of the “Upper Ten " districts
Reveal the most painful and startling statistics,
Of which let me mention only a few :
In one single house, on the Fifth Avenue,
Three young ladies were found, all below twenty-two,
Who have been three whole weeks without anything new
In the way of flounced silks, and thus left in the lurch,
Are unable to go to ball, concert, or church.
In another large mansion, near the same place,
Was found a deplorable, heart-rending case
Of entire destitution of Brussels point-lace.
In a neighboring block there was found, in three calls,
Total want, long continued, of camel's-hair shawls;
And a suffering family, whose case exhibits
The most pressing need of real ermine tippets;
Onc deserving young lady almost unable
To survive for the want of a new Russian sable;
Still another, whose tortures have been most terrific
Ever since the sad loss of the steamer Pacific,
In which were ingulfed, not friend or relation,
(For whose fate she perhaps might have found consolation,
Or borne it, at least, with serene resignation,)
But the choicest assortment of French sleeves and collars
Ever sent out from Paris, worth thousands of dollars,
And all as to style most recherché and rare,
The want of which leaves her with nothing to wear,
And renders her life so drear and dyspeptic
That she 's quite a recluse, and almost a skeptic,
For she touchingly says, that this sort of grief
Cannot find in Religion the sliglitest relief,
And Philosophy has not a maxim to spare
For the victims of such overwhelming despair.
But the saddest, by far, of all these sad features,
Is the cruelty practiced upon the poor creatures
By husbands and fathers, real Bluebeards and Timons,
Who resist the most touching appeals made for diamonds
By their wives and their daughters, and leave them for days
Unsupplied with new jewelry, fans, or bouquets,
Even laugh at their miseries whenever they have a chance,
And deride their demands as useless extravagance;
One case of a bride was brought to my view,
Too sad for belief, but, alas! ’t was too true,
Whose husband refused, as savage as Charon,
To permit her to take more than ten trunks to Sharon.
The consequence was, that when she got there,
At the end of three weeks she had nothing to wear,
And when she proposed to finish the season
At Newport, the monster refused, out and out,
For his infamous conduct alleging no reason,
Except that the waters were good for his gout;
Such treatment as this was too shocking, of course,
And proceedings are now going on for divorce.
But why harrow the feelings by lifting the curtain
From these scenes of woe? Enough, it is certain,
Has here been disclosed to stir up the pity
Of every benevolent heart in the city,
And spur up Humanity into a canter
To rush and relieve these sad cases instanter.
Won't somebody, moved by this touching description,
Come forward to-morrow and head a subscription ?
Won't some kind philanthropist, seeing that aid is
So needed at once by these indigent ladies,
Take charge of the matter? Or won't Peter Cooper
The corner-stone lay of some new splendid super-
Structure, like that which to-day links his name
In the Union unending of IIonor and Fame,
And found a new charity just for the care
Of these unhappy women with nothing to wear,
Which, in view of the cash which would daily be claimed,
The Laying-out Hospital well might be named ?
Won't Stewart, or some of our dry-goods importers,
Take a contract for clothing our wives and our daughters ?
Or, to furnish the cash to supply these distresses,
And life's pathway strew with shawls, collars, and dresses,
Ere the want of them makes it much rougher and thornier,
Won't some one discover a new California ?
O ladies, dear ladies, the next sunny day
Please trundle your hoops just out of Broadway,
From its whirl and its bustle, its fashion and pride,
And the temples of Trade which tower on each side,
To the alleys and lanes, where Misfortune and Guilt
Their children have gathered, their city have built;
Where Hunger and Vice, like twin beasts of prey,
Have hunted their victims to gloom and despair;
Raise the rich, dainty dress, and the fine broidered skirt,
delicate way through the dampness and dirt, Grope through the dark dens, climb the rickety stair To the garret, where wretches, the young and the old, Half starved and half naked, lie crouched from the cold; See those skeleton limbs, those frost-bitten feet, All bleeding and bruised by the stones of the street; Hear the sharp cry of childhood, the deep groans that swell
From the poor dying creature who writhes on the floor; Hear the curses that sound like the echoes of Hell,
As you sicken and shudder and fly from the door; Then home to your wardrobes, and say, if you dare,-Spoiled children of fashion, -you 've nothing to wear!
And O, if perchance there should be a sphere
Where all is made right which so puzzles us here,
Where the glare and the glitter and tinsel of Time
Fade and die in the light of that region sublime,
Where the soul, disenchanted of flesh and of sense,
Unscreened by its trappings and shows and pretense,
Must be clothed for the life and the service above,
With purity, truth, faith, meekness, and love,
O daughters of Earth! foolish virgins, beware!
Lest in that upper realm you have nothing to wear!
WILLIAM ALLEN BUTLER.
I am dying, Egypt, dying,
Ebbs the crimson life-tide fast,
And the dark Plutonian shadows
Gather on the evening blast;
Let thine arms, 0 Queen, infold me;
Hush thy sobs and bow thine ear;
Listen to the great heart-secrets,
Thou, and thou alone, must hear.
Though my scarred and veteran legions
Bear their eagles high no more,
And my wrecked and scattered galleys
Strew dark Actium's fatal shore;
Though no glittering guards surround me,
Prompt to do their master's will,
I must perish like a Roman,
Die the great Triumvir still.
Let not Cæsar's servile minions
Mock the lion thus laid low;
'T was no foeman's arm that felled him
'T was his own that struck the blow,-
His who, pillowed on thy bosom,
Turned aside from glory's ray-
His who, drunk with thy caresses,
Madly threw a world away.
Should the base plebeian rabble
Dare assail my name at Rome, Where my noble spouse, Octavia,
Weeps within her widowed home,
Seek her; say the gods bear witness-
Altars, augurs, circling wings-
That her blood, with mine commingled,
Yet shall mount the throne of kings.
As for thee, star-eyed Egyptian!
Glorious sorceress of the Nile, Light the path to Stygian horrors
With the splendors of thy smile.
Give the Cæsar crowns and arches,
Let his brow the laurel twine;
I can scorn the Senate's triumphs,
Triumphing in love like thine.
I am dying, Egypt, dying;
Hark! the insulting foeman's cry. They are coming! quick, my falchion!
Let me front them ere I die. Ah! no more amid the battle
Shall my heart exulting swell— Isis and Osiris guard thee! Cleopatra, Rome, farewell!
WILLIAM HAINES Lytle.
The Nautilus and the Ammonite.
The nautilus and the ammonite
Were launched in friendly strife, Each sent to float in its tiny boat
On the wide, wide sea of life.
For each could swim on the ocean's brim,
And, when wearied, its sail could furl,