Winthrop Mackworth Praed
Everyday Characters III - The Belle Of The Ball Room
Years, years ago, ere yet my dreams
Had been of being wise and witty;
Ere I had done wth writing themes,
Or yawn'd o'er this infernal Chitty; --
Years, years ago, while all my joy
Was in my fowling-piece and filly;
In short, while I was yet a boy,
I fell in love with Laura Lily.
I saw her at the County Ball;
There, when the sounds of flute and fiddle
Gave signal sweet in that old hall
Of hands across and down the middle,
Hers was the subtlest spell by far
Of all that set young hearts romancing:
She was our queen, our rose, our star;
And then she danced -- oh, Heaven, her dancing!
Dark was her hair, her hand was white;
Her voice was exquisitely tender;
Her eyes were full of liquid light;
I never saw a waist so slender;
Her every look, her every smile,
Shot right and left a score of arrows;
I though 'twas Venus from her isle,
And wonder'd where she left her sparrows.
Through sunny May, through sultry June,
I loved her with a love eternal;
I spoke her praises to the moon,
I wrote them to the Sunday Journal.
My mother laugh'd; I soon found out
That ancient ladies have no feeling:
My father frown'd, but how should gout
See any happiness in kneeling?
She was the daughter of a dean,
Rich, fat, and rather apoplectic;
She had one brother just thriteen,
Whose color was extremely hectic;
Her grandmother, for many a year
Had fed the parish with her bounty;
Her second cousin was a peer,
And lord-lieutenant of the county.
But titles and the three-per-cents,
And mortgages, and great relations,
And India bonds, and tithes and rents,
Oh! what are they to love's sensations?
Black eyes, fair forehead, clustering locks, --
Such wealth, such honors, Cupid chooses;
He cares as little for the stocks,
As Baron Rothschild for the Muses.
She sketched; the vale, the wood, the beach,
Grew lovelier from her pencil's shading;
She botanized; I envied each
Young blossom in her boudoir fading;
She warbled Händel; it was grand, --
She made the Catalina jealous;
She touch'd the organ; I could stand
For hours and hours to blow the bellows.
She kept an album, too, at home,
Well fill'd with all an album's glories;
Paintings of butterfiles, and Rome,
Patterns for trimming, Persian stories,
Soft songs to Julia's cockatoo,
Fierce odes to Famine and to Slaughter;
And autographs of Prince Lèboo,
And recipes for elder-water.
And she was flatter'd, worshipp'd, bored;
Her steps were watch'd, her dress was noted;
Her poodle-dog was quite adored,
Her saying were extremely quoted.
She laugh'd, and every heart was glad,
As if the taxes were abolish'd;
She frown'd, and every look was sad,
As if the Opera were demolished.
She smil'd on many just for fun, --
I knew that there was nothing in it;
I was the first, the only one
Her heart had thought of for a minute.
I knew it, for she told me so,
In phrase which was divinely moulded;
She wrote a charming hand, and oh,
How sweetly all her notes were folded!
Our love was like most other loves, ---
A little glow, a little shiver,
A rosebud and a pair of gloves,
And 'Fly Not Yet,' upon the river;
Some jealousy of some one's heir,
Some hopes of dying broken-hearted;
A miniature, a lock of hair,
The usual vows -- and then we parted.
We parted -- months and years roll'd by;
We met again four summers after;
Our parting was all sob and sigh --
Our meeting was all mirth and laughter;
For in my heart's most secret cell,
There had been many other lodgers;
And she was not the ball-room's belle,
But only -- Mrs. Something Rogers.
Winthrop Mackworth Praed's Other Poems
Read this poem in other languages
This poem has not been translated into any other language yet.
Comments about this poem (Everyday Characters III - The Belle Of The Ball Room by Winthrop Mackworth Praed )
(4 April 1928 - 28 May 2014)
(March 26, 1874 – January 29, 1963)
William Butler Yeats
(13 June 1865 – 28 January 1939)
(1 February 1902 – 22 May 1967)
(12 July 1904 – 23 September 1973)
(10 December 1830 – 15 May 1886)
Edgar Allan Poe
(19 January 1809 - 7 October 1849)
(27 October 1914 – 9 November 1953)
(16 August 1920 – 9 March 1994)
- Still I Rise, Maya Angelou
- Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night, Dylan Thomas
- If, Rudyard Kipling
- The Road Not Taken, Robert Frost
- To an Athlete Dying Young, Alfred Edward Housman
- Daffodils, William Wordsworth
- If You Forget Me, Pablo Neruda
- I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings, Maya Angelou
- Death is Nothing at All, Henry Scott Holland
- Alone, Maya Angelou
Poem of the Day
- Down and Dirty, Buddy Bee Anthony
- Get Dirty, Buddy Bee Anthony
- I Never, Sergi Dutronc
- Love for everyone, Andy Sayasone
- Storage Unit Auction, Saiom Shriver
- Space Framed Beauty, Saiom Shriver
- Unhealthy Love, Sergi Dutronc
- Miracle Making, Saiom Shriver
- Purpose, Passion, Faith & Love, Tom Zart
- Death Or Life, Saiom Shriver