« PreviousContinue »
MUSE of the many-twinkling feet!3 whose charms
Are now extended up from legs to arms;
TERPSICHORE!-too long misdeem'd a maid—
Reproachful term-bestow'd but to upbraid-
Henceforth in all the bronze of brightness shine,
The least a vestal of the virgin Nine.
Far be from thee and thine the name of prude;
Mock'd, yet triumphant; sneer'd at, unsubdued;
Thy legs must move to conquer as they fly,
If but thy coats are reasonably high;
Thy breast-if bare enough-requires no shield;
Dance forth-sans armour thou shalt take the field,
And own-impregnable to most assaults,
Thy not too lawfully begotten « Waltz.»
Hail nimble nymph! to whom the young hussar,
The whisker'd votary of waltz and war—
His night devotes, despite of spur and boots,
A sight unmatch'd since Orpheus and his brutes:
Hail, spirit-stirring Waltz !-beneath whose banners
A modern hero fought for modish manners;
On Hounslow's heath to rival Wellesley's4 fame,
Cock'd-fired-and miss'd his man—but gain'd his aim.
Hail moving muse! to whom the fair one's breast
Gives all it can, and bids us take the rest.
Oh! for the flow of Busby, or of Fitz,
The latter's loyalty, the former's wits,
To a energise the object I pursue,»
And give both Belial and his dance their due!-
Imperial Waltz! imported from the Rhine (Famed for the growth of pedigrees and wine), Long be thine import from all duty free, And hock itself be less esteem'd than thee; In some few qualities alike-for hock Improves our cellar-thou our living stock. The head to hock belongs-thy subtler art Intoxicates alone the heedless heart: Through the full veins thy gentler poison swims, And wakes to wantonness the willing limbs.
Oh, Germany! how much to thee we owe, As heaven-born Pitt can testify below; Ere cursed confederation made thee France's, And only left us thy d――d debts and dances; Of subsidies and Hanover bereft,
We bless thee still-for George the Third is left!
Of kings the best-and last, not least in worth,
For graciously begetting George the Fourth.
To Germany, and highnesses serene,
Who owe us millions-don't we owe the queen?
To Germany what owe we not besides?
So oft bestowing Brunswickers and brides;
Who paid for vulgar, with her royal blood,
Drawn from the stem of each Teutonic stud:
Who sent us-so be pardon'd all her faults-
A dozen dukes-some kings-a queen-and Waltz.
But peace to her her emperor and diet, Though now transferr'd to Bonaparte's «fiat;» Back to my theme-O Muse of motion! say, How first to Albion found thy Waltz her way?
Borne on the breath of hyperborean gales, From Hamburg's port (while Hamburg yet had mails) Ere yet unlucky fame-compell'd to creep To snowy Gottenburg-was chill'd to sleep: Or, starting from her slumbers, deign'd arise, Heligoland to stock thy mart with lies; While unburnt Moscow5 yet had news to send, Nor owed her fiery exit to a friend,
She came-Waltz came-and with her certain sets
Of true dispatches, and as true gazettes :
Then flamed of Austerlitz the blest dispatch
Which Moniteur nor Morning Post can match;
And-almost crush'd beneath the glorious news-
Ten plays, and forty tales of Kotzebue's;
One envoy's letters, six composer's airs,
And loads from Frankfort and from Leipsic fairs;
Meiner's four volumes upen womankind,
Like Lapland witches to ensure a wind;
Brunck's heaviest tome for ballast, and to back it,
Of Heyné, such as should not sink the packet.
Fraught with this cargo-and her fairest freight,
Delightful Waltz, ou tiptoe for a mate,
The welcome vessel reach'd the genial strand,
And round her flock'd the daughters of the land.
Not decent David, when, before the ark,
His grand pas-seul excited some remark;
Not love-lorn Quixote, when his Sancho thought
The knight's fandango friskier than it ought;
Not soft Herodias, when with winning tread
Her nimble feet danced off another's head;
Not Cleopatra on her galley's deck,
Display'd so much of leg, or more of neck,
Than thou, ambrosial Waltz, when first the moon
Beheld thee twirling to a Saxon tune!
To you-ye husbands of ten years! whose brows
Ache with the annual tributes of a spouse;
Το you of nine years less-who only bear
The budding sprouts of those that shall wear,
With added ornaments around them roll'd,
Of native brass, or law-awarded gold;
To you, ye matrons, ever on the watch
To mar a son's, or make a daughter's match!
To you, ye children of-whom chance accords-
Always the ladies, and sometimes their lords;
To you-ye single gentlemen, who seek
Torments for life, or pleasures for a week;
As Love or Hymen your endeavours guide,
To gain your own, or snatch another's bride;
To one and all the lovely stranger came,
And every ball-room echoes with her name.
Observant travellers! of every time; Ye quartos, publish'd upon every clime; O say shall dull Romaika's heavy round, Fandango's wriggle, or Bolero's bound; Can Egypt's Almas-tantalizing groupColumbia's caperers to the warlike whoop-Can aught from cold Kamschatka to Cape Horn With Waltz compare, or after Waltz be borne? Ah, no! from Morier's pages down to Galt's, Each tourist pens a paragraph for « Waltz.»
Shades of those belles, whose reign began of yore,
With George the Third's-and ended long before-
Though in your daughters' daughters yet you thrive,
Burst from your lead, and be yourselves alive!
Back to the ball-room speed your spectred host:
Fool's paradise is dull to that you lost.
No treacherous powder bids conjecture quake;
No stiff starch'd stays make meddling fingers ache;
(Transferr'd to those ambiguous things that ape
Goats in their visage,7 women in their shape);
No damsel faints when rather closely press'd,
But more caressing seems when most caress'd;
Superfluous hartshorn, and reviving salts,
Both banish'd by the sovereign cordial, « Waltz.>>
Seductive Waltz!--though on thy native shore
Even Werter's self proclaim'd thee half a whore;
Werter-to decent vice though much inclined,
Yet warm, not wanton; dazzled, but not blind-
Though gentle Genlis, in her strife with Stael,
Would even proscribe thee from a Paris ball;
The fashion hails-from countesses to queens,
And maids and valets waltz behind the scenes;
Wide and more wide thy witching circle spreads,
And turns-if nothing else—at least our heads ;
With thee even clumsy cits attempt to bounce,
And cockneys practise what they can't pronounce.
Gods! how the glorious theme my strain exalts,
And rhyme finds partner rhyme in praise of « Waltz.»
Blest was the time Waltz chose for her début :
The court, the R--t, like herself were new 8
New face for friends, for foes some new rewards,
New ornaments for black and royal guards;
New laws to hang the rogues that roar'd for bread;
New coins (most new)9 to follow those that fled;
New victories-nor can we prize them less,
Though Jenky wonders at his own success;
New wars, because the old succeed so well,
That most survivors envy those who fell;
New mistresses-no, old-and yet 't is true,
Though they be old, the thing is something new;
Each new, quite new- -(except some ancient tricks),10
New white-sticks, gold-sticks, broom-sticks, all new
With vests or ribands-deck'd alike in hue,
New troopers strut, new turncoats blush in blue:
So saith the muse-my-1, what say you!
Such was the time when Waltz might best maintain
Her new preferments in this novel reign;
Such was the time, nor ever yet was such,
Hoops are no more, and petticoats not much;
Morals and minuets, virtue and her stays,
And tell-tale powder-all have had their days.
The ball begins-the honours of the house
First duly done by daughter or by spouse,
Some potentate-or royal or serene—
With K-t's gay grace, or sapient G—st—r's mien,
Leads forth the ready dame, whose rising flush
Might once have been mistaken for a blush.
From where the garb just leaves the bosom free,
That spot where hearts were once supposed to be;
Round all the confines of the yielded waist,
The strangest hand may wander undisplaced;
The lady's in return may grasp as much
As princely paunches offer to her touch.
Pleased round the chalky floor how well they trip,
One hand reposing on the royal hip;
The other to the shoulder no less royal
Ascending with affection truly loyal:
Thus front to front the partners move or stand,
The foot may rest, but none withdraw the hand;
And all in turn may follow in their rank,
The Earl of Asterisk-and Lady Blank;
Sir Such a one-with those of fashion's host,
For whose blest surnames-vide « Morning Post;»
(Or if for that impartial print too late,
Search Doctors' Commons six months from my date).
Thus all and each, in movement swift or slow,
The genial contact gently undergo;
Till some might marvel, with the modest Turk,
If « nothing follows all this palming work?»13
True, honest Mirza-you may trust my rhyme-
Something does follow at a fitter time;
The breast, thus publicly resign'd to man,
In private may resist him-if it can.
O ye! who loved our grandmothers of yore,
F-tz-t-k, Sh-r-d-n, and many more!
And thou, my prince, whose sovereign taste and will
It is to love the lovely beldames still;
Thou, ghost of Q➖➖➖! whose judging sprite
Satan may spare to peep a single night,
Pronounce-if ever in your days of bliss,
Asmodeus struck so bright a stroke as this;
To teach the young ideas how to rise,
Flush in the cheek and languish in the eyes;
Rush to the heart and lighten through the frame,
With half-told wish and ill-dissembled flame :
For prurient nature still will storm the breast—
Who, tempted thus, can answer for the rest?
Voluptuous Waltz! and dare I thus blaspheme?
Thy bard forgot thy praises were his theme.
TERPSICHORE forgive!-at every ball
My wife now waltzes-and my daughters shall;
My son (or stop-t is needless to inquire-
These little accidents should ne'er transpire;
Somes ages hence our genealogic tree
Will wear as green a bough for him as me),
Waltzing shall rear, to make our name amends,
Grandsons for me-in heirs to all his friends.
Note 1. Page 502, line 36. State of the poll (last day) 5.
Note 2. page 502, line 36.
My latin is all forgotten, if a man can be said to have forgotten what he never remembered; but I bought my title-page motto of a Catholic priest for a three shilling bank token, after much haggling for the even sixpence. I grudged the money to a papist, being all for the memory of Perceval, and «no popery;» and quite regretting the downfal of the pope, because we can't burn him any more.
Note 3. Page 503, line 1.
- Glance their many-twinkling feet.-GRAY.
Note 4. Page 503, line 21.
To rival Lord W.'s, or his nephew's, as the reader pleases: the one gained a pretty woman, whom he deserved, by fighting for; and the other has been fighting in the Peninsula many a long day, «by Shrewsbury clock,» without gaining any thing in that country but the title of « the Great Lord,» and «< the Lord,» which savours of profanation, having been hitherto applied only to that Being, to whom « Te Deums» for carnage are the rankest blasphemy.-It is to be presumed the general will one day return to his Sabine farm, there
To tame the genius of the stubborn plain,
Almost as quickly as he conquer'd Spain!"
don himself would have nothing to object to such liberal bastards of our Lady of Babylon.
Note 5. Page 503, line 65.
The patriotic arson of our amiable allies cannot be sufficiently commended-nor subscribed for. Amongst other details omitted in the various dispatches of our eloquent ambassador, he did not state (being too much occupied with the exploits of Colonel C-, in swimming rivers frozen, and galloping over roads impassable), that one entire province perished by famine in the most melancholy manner, as follows:-In General Rostopchin's consummate conflagration, the consumption of tallow and train oil was so great, that the market was inadequate to the demand: and thus one hundred and thirty-three thousand persons were starved to death, by being reduced to wholesome diet! The lamplighters of London have since subscribed a pint (of oil) a piece, quantity of best moulds (four to the pound) to the reand the tallow-chandlers have unanimously voted a lief of the surviving Scythians-the scarcity will soon, by such exertions, and a proper attention to the quality viated. It is said, in return, that the untouched Ukraine rather than the quantity of provision, be totally allehas subscribed sixty thousand beeves for a day's meal to our suffering manufacturers.
Note 6. Page 504, line 5..
Dancing-girls-who do for hire what Waltz doth
Note 7. Page 504, line 20.
It cannot be complained now, as in the Lady Baussiere's time, of the « Sieur de la Croix,» that there be valour in the field, or elsewhere, may still be question« no whiskers;» but how far these are indications of sides. In the olden time philosophers had whiskers able. Much may be and hath been avouched on both and soldiers none-Scipio himself was shaven-Hannibal thought his one eye handsome enough without a beard; but Adrian, the Emperor, wore a beard (having warts on his chin, which neither the Empress Sabina, nor even the courtiers could abide)-Turenne whiskered, the R▬▬ had whiskers, Marlborough none-Buonaparte is unmind and whiskers may or may not go together: but - whiskered; « argal,» greatness of the last-mentioned, go further in behalf of whiskers certainly the different occurrences, since the growth of than the anathema of Anselm did against long hair in the reign of Henry I.
The Lord Peterborough conquered continents in a summer; we do more-we contrive both to conquer and lose them in a shorter season. If the « great Lord's>> Cincinnatian progress in agriculture be no speedier than the proportional average of time in Pope's couplet, it will, according to the farmer's proverb, be « ploughing with dogs.»>
By the by-one of this illustrious person's new titles is forgotten-it is, however, worth remembering-«< Salvador del mundo!» credite, posteri! If this be the appellation annexed by the inhabitants of the Peninsula to the name of a man who has not yet saved themquery-are they worth saving even in this world? for, according to the mildest modifications of any Christian creed, those three words make the odds much against them in the next.-« Saviour of the world,» quotha!— it were to be wished that he, or any one else, could save a corner of it-his country. Yet this stupid misnomer, although it shows the near connexion between super- An anachronism-Waltz, and the battle of Austerlitz stition and impiety, so far has its use, that it proves are before said to have opened the ball together; the there can be little to dread from those Catholics (in-bard means (if he means any thing), Waltz was not so quisitorial Catholics too) who can confer such an ap- much in vogue till the R--t attained the acme of pellation on a Protestant. I suppose next year he will his popularity. Waltz, the comet, whiskers, and the be entitled the « Virgin Mary :» if so, Lord George Gor- new government, illuminated heaven and earth, in ali
Note 8. Page 504, line 40.
Barrey's comedy of Ram Alley, 1661, act I. scene 1.
Formerly red was a favourite colour. See Lodowick
Taffeta. Now, for a wager-What coloured beard comes next by the window?
« Adriana. A black man's, I think.
Taffeta. I think not so: 1 think a red, for that is most in fashion.>>
then a favourite, has now subsided into a favourite's There is nothing new under the sun;» but red,
service (being already in the R~~t's): it would not be fair to back any peculiar initial against the alphabet, as every month will add to the lists now entered for the sweepstakes-a distinguished consonant is said to be the favourite, much against the wishes of the knowing
Note 12. Page 504, line 70.
« We have changed all that," says the Mock Doctor, «'t is all gone-Asmodeus knows where. After all, it is of no great importance how women's hearts are disposed of; they have nature's privilege to distribute them as absurdly as possible. But there are also some men with hearts so thoroughly bad, as to remind us of those phenomena often mentioned in natural history; viz. a mass of solid stone-only to be opened by force-and when divided, you discover a toad in the centre, lively, and with the reputation of being venomous.»>
Note 13. Page 504, line 90.
In Turkey a pertinent-here an impertinent and superfluous question-literally put, as in the text, by a Persian to Morier, on seeing a waltz in Pera.-Vide Morier's Travels.
And tasteless food, which I have cat alone
Till its unsocial bitterness is gone;
And I can banquet like a beast of prey,
Ar Ferrara (in the library) are preserved the original Sullen and lonely, couching in the cave
MSS. of Tasso's Gierusalemme and of Guarini's Pastor Fido, with letters of Tasso, one from Titian to Ariosto, and the inkstand and chair, the tomb and the house of
the latter. But as misfortune has a greater interest for posterity, and little or none for the contemporary, the cell where Tasso was confined in the hospital of St Anna attracts a more fixed attention than the residence or the monument of Ariosto-at least it had this effect on me.
There are two inscriptions, one on the outer gate, the second over the cell itself, inviting, unnecessarily, the wonder and the indignation of the spectator. Ferrara is much decayed and depopulated; the castle still exists entire; and I saw the court where Parisina and Hugo were beheaded, according to the annal of Gibbon.
LONG years!-It tries the thrilling frame to hear
And eagle-spirit of a child of song-
Long years of outrage, calumny, and wrong;
Imputed madness, prison'd solitude,
And the mind's canker in its savage mood,
When the impatient thirst of light and air
Parches the heart; and the abhorred grate,
Marring the sunbeams with its hideous shade,
Works through the throbbing eye-ball to the brain
With a hot sense of heaviness and pain;
And bare, at once, captivity display'd
Stands scoffing through the never-open'd gate,
Which nothing through its bars admits, save day
Which is my lair, aud—it may be—my grave.
All this hath somewhat worn me, and may wear,
But must be borne. I stoop not to despair;
For I have battled with mine agony,
And made me wings wherewith to overfly
The narrow circus of my dungeon-wall,
And freed the Holy Sepulchre from thrall;
And revell'd among men and things divine,
In honour of the sacred war for him,
And pour'd my spirit over Palestine,
The God who was on earth and is in heaven,
For he hath strengthen'd me in heart and limb.
That through this sufferance I might be forgiven,
I have employ'd my penance to record
How Salem's shrine was won, and how adored.
But this is o'er-my pleasant task is done:
My long-sustaining friend of many years!
If I do blot thy final page with tears,
Know that my sorrows have wrung from me none.
But thou, my young creation! my soul's child!
Which ever playing round me came and smiled,
And woo'd me from myself with thy sweet sight,
Thou too art gone-and so is my delight:
And therefore do I weep and inly bleed
With this last bruise upon a broken reed.
Thou too art ended-what is left me now?
For I have anguish yet to bear-and how!
I know not that-but in the innate force
Of my own spirits shall be found resource.
I have not sunk, for I had no remorse,
Nor cause for such: they call'd me inad-and why?
Oh Leonora! wilt not thou reply?
I was indeed delirious in my heart
To lift my love so lofty as thou art;
But still my frenzy was not of the mind;
I knew my fault, and feel my punishment
Not less because I suffer it unbent.
That thou wert beautiful, and I not blind,
Hath been the sin which shuts me from mankind :
But let them go, or torture as they will,
My heart can multiply thine image still;
Successful love may sate itself away,
The wretched are the faithful; 't is their fate
To have all feeling save the one decay,
And every passion into one dilate,
As rapid rivers into ocean pour;
But ours is fathomless, and hath no shore.
Above me, hark! the long and maniac cry Of minds and bodies in captivity.
And hark! the lash and the increasing howl, And the half inarticulate blasphemy!
There be some here with worse than frenzy foul,
Some who do still goad on the o'er-labour'd mind,
And dim the little light that's left behind
With needless torture, as their tyrant will
Is wound up to the lust of doing ill:
With these and with their victims am I class'd,
'Mid sounds and sights like these long years have pass'd; close :
my life may
'Mid sights and sounds like these
So let it be for then I shall repose.
I have been patient, let me be so yet;
I had forgotten half I would forget,
But it revives-oh! would it were my lot
To be forgetful as I am forgot!-
Feel I not wroth with those who hade me dwell
In this vast lazar-house of many woes?
Where laughter is not mirth, nor thought the mind,
Nor words a language, nor ev'n men mankind;
Where cries reply to curses, shrieks to blows,
And each is tortured in his separate hell—
For we are crowded in our solitudes-
Many, but each divided by the wall,
Which echoes Madness in her babbling moods;—
While all can hear, none heed his neighbour's call-
None! save that One, the veriest wretch of all,
Who was not made to be the mate of these,
Nor bound between distraction and disease.
Feel I not wroth with those who placed me here?
Who have debased me in the minds of men,
Debarring me the usage of my own,
Blighting my life in best of its carcer,
Branding my thoughts as things to shun and fear?
Would I not pay them back these pangs again,
And teach them inward sorrow's stifled groan?
The struggle to be calm, and cold distress,
Which undermines our stoical success?
No!-still too proud to be vindictive-I
Have pardon'd princes' insults, and would die.
Yes, sister of my sovereign! for thy sake
I weed all bitterness from out my breast-
It hath no business where thou art a guest,
Thy brother hates-but I can not detest, Thou pitiest not-but I can not forsake.
Look on a love which knows not to despair,
But all unquench'd is still my better part,
Dwelling deep in my shut and silent heart
As dwells the gather'd lightning in its cloud,
Encompass'd with its dark and rolling shroud,
Till struck,-forth flies the all-ethereal dart!
And thus at the collision of thy name
The vivid thought still flashes through my frame.
And for a moment all things as they were
Flit by me; they are gone-I am the same.
love without ambition grew;
I knew thy state, my station, and I knew
A princess was no love-mate for a bard;
I told it not, I breathed it not, it was
Sufficient to itself, its own reward;
And if my eyes reveal'd it, they, alas!
Were punish'd by the silentness of thine,
And yet I did not venture to repine.
Thou wert to me a crystal-girded shrine,
Worshipp'd at holy distance, and around
Hallow'd and meekly kiss'd the saintly ground;
Not for thou wert a princess, but that love
Had robed thee with a glory, and array'd
Thy lineaments in beauty that dismay'd—
Oh! not dismay'd-but awed, like One above;
| And in that sweet severity there was
A something which all softness did surpass-
I know not how-thy genius master'd mine-
My star stood still before thee:-if it were
Presumptuous thus to love without design,
That sad fatality hath cost me dear;
But thou art dearest still, and I should be
Fit for this cell, which wrongs me, but for thee.
The very love which lock'd me to my chain
Hath lighten'd half its weight; and for the rest,
Though heavy, lent me vigour to sustain,
And look to thee with undivided breast,
And foil the ingenuity of pain.
It is no marvel-from my very birth
My soul was drunk with love, which did pervade
And mingle with whate' er I saw on earth;
Of objects all inanimate I made
Idols, and out of wild and lonely flowers,
And rocks, whereby they grew, a paradise,
Where I did lay me down within the shade
Of waving trees, and dream'd uncounted hours,
Though I was chid for wandering; and the wise
Shook their white aged heads o'er me, and said
Of such materials wretched men were made,
And such a truant boy would end in woe,
And that the only lesson was a blow;
And then they smote me, and I did not weep,
But cursed them in my heart, and to
Return'd and wept alone, and dream'd again
The visions which arise without a sleep.
And with my years my soul began to pant
With feelings of strange tumult and soft pain;
And the whole heart exhaled into one want,
But undefined and wandering, till the day