Ella Wheeler Wilcox

(5 November 1850 - 30 October 1919 / Johnstown Center / Rock County / Wisconsin)

At The Hop


‘Tis time to dress. Dost hear the music surging
Like sobbing waves that roll up from the sea?
Yes, yes, I hear – I yield – no need of urging;
I know your wishes, - send Lisette to me.

I hate the ballroom; hate its gilded pleasure;
I hate the crowd within it, well you know;
But what of that? I am your lawful treasure –
And when you would display me I must go.

You bought me with a mother’s pain and trouble.
I’ve been a great expense to you always.
And now, if you can sell me, and get double
The sum cost – why, what have I to say?

You’ve done your duty: kept me in the fashion,
And shown off me at every stylish place.
‘Twas not your fault I had a heart of passion;
‘Twas not your fault I ever saw his face.

The dream was brief, and beautiful, and tender,
(O, God! to live those golden hours once more.
The silver moonlight, and his dark eyes’ splendour,
The sky above us, and the sea below.)

Come, come, Lisette, bring out those royal laces;
To-night must make the victory complete.
Among the crowd of masked and smiling faces,
I’ll move with laughter, and with smiles most sweet.

Make me most fair! with youth and grace and beauty.
I needs must conquer bloated age and gold.
She shall not say I have not done my duty;
I’m ready now – a daughter to be sold!

Submitted: Saturday, May 31, 2003

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