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Lovely and fascinating still,
With lips that wound, and eyes that kill?
When last I saw her dangerous face,
There was a lover in the case-
A pretty pair of epaulettes !
But then, there were some ugly debts !
A match? Nay! why so gloomy, boy?
Upon my life I wish 'em joy !”
With arms enfolded o'er his breast, And fingers clench'd, and lips compress'd, And eye, whose, every glance appears To speak a threat in Reuben's ears, That youth hath heard; 'tis brief and stern The answer that he deigns return; Then silent on his homeward way, Like Ossian's ghosts, he strides away.
Astonish'd at his indignation,
Reuben breaks out in exclamation.
« Edward! I mean I really meant
Upon my word a compliment;
You look so stern!-nay, why is this:
Angry because I flatter'd Miss ?
What! gone ?--The deuce is in the man!
Explain, Sir Robert, if you can.”-
“ Eh! what? perhaps you haven't heard !
Excuse my laughing !-how absurd !
A slight faux pas !-a trifle-merely!
Ha ! ha !egad you touch'd him nearly.”
All blunderers, when they chance to make In colloquy some small mistake, Make haste to make an hundred more,
To mend the one they made before. 'Tis thus with Reuben! through the throng With hurried step he hastes along ; Thins, like a Pest, the crowded seats, And runs a muck at all he meets; Rich in his unintended satire, And killing, where he means to flatter. He makes a College Fellow wild By asking for his wife and child ; Puts a haught Blue in awful passion By disquisitions on the fashion;
Refers a knotty case in Whist
To Morley the Philanthropist;
Quotes to a Sportsman from St. Luke,
Bawls out plain “ Bobby” to a Duke ;
And while a Barrister invites
Our notice to the Bill of Rights,
And fat Sir John begins to launch
Into the praises of a haunch,
He bids the man of quibbles pause
By eulogizing “ Spartan Laws;"
And makes the epicure quite wrath
By eulogizing “ Spartan broth.”
Error on error grows and swells,
For, as a certain proverb tells,
“ When once a man has lost his way,"
But you have read it or you may.
Girt with a crowd of listening Graces, With expectation on their faces, Chattering, and looking all the while As if he strove to hide a smile That fain would burst Decorum's bands, Alfred Duval, the Hoaxer, stands. Alfred! the eldest-born of Mirth; There is not on this nether earth So light a spirit, nor a soul So little used to all control. Frolic, and Fun, and Jest, and Glee, Burst round him unremittingly;">.. And in the glances of his eyes Ever his heart's good humour flies, Mild as the breezes of the South ; And while, from many a wiser mouth, We drink the fruits of education, The solid Port of conversation, From Alfred's lips we seem to drain A ceaseless flow of bright Champagne. In various shapes his wit is found; But most it loves to send around, O’er half the town, on Rumour's gale, Some marvellously-fashion'd tale, And cheat the unsuspecting ear . With groundless hope, or groundless fear. To speak in civil words--his bent Lies sadly to- Embellishment.
“ Sir,” says Morality, you know
You shouldn't flatter Falsehood so:
The Nurse that rock'd you in your crib
Taught you to loath and scorn a fib,
And Shakspeare warns you of the evil,
Saying, ' tell truth, and shame the Devil!'
I like, as well as you, the glances
Where gay Good Humour brightly dances;
But when a man tells horrid lies
You shouldn't talk about his eyes."
Madam! you'll think it rather odd
That, while I bow me to the rod,
And make no shadow of defence,
I still persist in my offence:
And great and small may join to blame
The echo of the Hoaxer's fame;
But be it known to great and small,
I can't write sermons at a ball.
'Tis Alfred fills the public prints
With all the sly ingenious hints
That fly about begirt with cares,
And terrify the Bulls and Bears.
Unrivall’d statesman! war and peace
He makes and breaks with perfect ease;
Skilful to crown and to depose;
He sets up kings, and overthrows;
As if apprentic'd to the work,
He ties the bow-string round the Turk,
Or makes the Algerine devout,
Or plagues his Holiness with gout, ;
Or drives the Spaniard from Madrid
As quick as Bonaparte did.
Sometimes at home his plots he lays,
And wildly still bis Fancy plays.
He pulls the Speaker from the chair,
Murders the Sheriffs, or the Mayor,
Or drags a Bishop through the mire,
Or sets the Theatres on fire,
Or brings the weavers to subjection,
Or prates of mobs and insurrection.
One dash of his creative pen
Can raise a hundred thousand men :
They march ! he wills, and myriads fall;
One dash annihilates them all!
And now, amid that female rout,
What scandal doth he buz about?
What grand affair or mighty name
Entrusts he to the gossip Fame?
Uncheck’d, unstay'd, he hurries on
With wondrous stories of the Ton;
Describes how London ladies lose
Their heads in Helmets, like the Blues ;
And how the highest circles meet
To dance with pattens on their feet!
And all the while he tells his lie
With such a solemn gravity,
That many a Miss parades the room,
Dreaming about a casque and plume ;
And vows it grievously must tire one
To waltz upon a pump of iron.
Jacques, the Cantab! I see him brood,
Wrapt in his mental solitude,
On thoughts that lie too deep, I wis,
For such a scene and hour as this.
Now shall the rivers freeze in May,
Coquettes be silent at the Play;
Old men shall dine without a story,
And mobs be civil to a Tory!
All miracles shall well befall,
When Youth is thoughtful at a Ball.
From thoughts that grieve, and words that vex, And names invented to perplex ; From latent findings, never found, And mystic figures, square and round; Shapes, from whose Labyrinthine toil A Dædalus might well recoil ; He steals one night-one single night, And gives its moments to delight. Yet still upon his struggling soul The muddy wave of Cam will roll, And all the monsters grim, that float Upon that dark and mirky moat, Come jabbering round him—dark Equation, Subtle Distinction, Disputation ; Notion, Idea, mystic Schism, Assumption, Proof, and Syllogism; And many an old and awful name Of Optic or Mechanic fame.
Look! in the van stern Euclid shows
The Asses’-Bridge upon his nose;
Bacon comes forward, sage austere,
And Locke and Paley both are there;
And Newton, with a spiteful hiss,
Points to his “ de Principiis."
Yet often with his magic wand
Doth Mirth dispel that hideous band;
And then in strange confusion lost
The mind of Jacques is tempest-tost.
By turns around it come and flee
The dulce, and the utile;
By turns, as Thought or Pleasure wills,
Quadratics struggle with Quadrilles ;
And figures sour, and figures sweet,
Of problems—and of dances-meet;
Bisections fight with “ down the middles,"
And chords of arcs with chords of fiddles ;
Vain are the poor Musician's graces;
His bass gives way to given bases —
His studied trill to shapely Trine-
His mellowed shake to puzzling Sine :
Each forming set recalls a Vision
Of some enchanting Proposition,
And merry “ Chassez-croisès huit”
Is little more than Q. E. D.
Ah! Stoic Youth! before his eye
Bright Beauties walk unheeded by;
And while his distant Fancy strays
Remote through Algebraic maze,
He sees, in whatsoe'er he views,
The very objects he pursues,
And fairest forms, from heel to head,
Seem crooked as his x and z.
Peace to the man of marble !
Whence is the universal rush?
Why doth confusion thus affright
The peaceful order of the night,
Thwart the musicians in their task,
And check the school-boy's pas de basque ?
The Lady Clare hath lost a comb !
If old Queen Bess from out her tomb.
Had burst, with royal indignation,
Upon our scandalous flirtation,