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DCCXCII.

TO A LADY, WITH A PRESENT OF A WALKING-STICK.

A compliment upon a crutch

Does not appear to promise much;

A theme no lover ever chose
For writing billet-doux in prose,
Or for an amatory sonnet;
But this I may comment upon it.
Its heart is whole, its head is light;
'Tis smooth and yielding, yet upright.
In this you see an emblem of the donor,
Clear and unblemish'd as his honour;
Form'd for your use, framed to your hand,
Obedient to your last command.

Its proper place is by your side,

Its main utility and pride

To be your prop, support, and guide.

John Hookham Frere (1769-1846).

[The lady here addressed was Jemima, Dowager Countess of Errol, to whom the writer was afterwards married.]

DCCXCIII.

ON MISS VASSAL, AT A MASQUERADE.

Imperial nymph! ill-suited is thy name
To speak the wonders of that radiant frame;
Where'er thy sovereign form on earth is seen,
All eyes are Vassals-thou alone a Queen.

Anon.

[Miss Vassal became the wife of the third Lord Holland. The above was written in 1786.]

DCCXCIV.

ON PROFESSOR AIREY, THE ASTRONOMER, AND HIS BEAUTIFUL WIFE.

Airey alone has gain'd that double prize

Which forc'd musicians to divide the crown :
His works have rais'd a mortal to the skies,
His marriage vows have drawn an angel down.

Sydney Smith (1771-1845).

[The allusion to Dryden's Alexander's Feast is obvious :—

Let old Timotheus yield the prize,

Or both divide the crown;

He rais'd a mortal to the skies,
She drew an angel down."]

DCCXCV.

ON THE PORTRAIT OF A LADY,

Taken by the Daguerreotype.

Yes! there are her features! her brow, and her hair,
And her eyes, with a look so seraphic,

Her nose, and her mouth, with the smile that is there,
Truly caught by the Art Photographic !

Yet why should she borrow such aid of the skies,
When, by many a bosom's confession,

Her own lovely face, and the light of her eyes,
Are sufficient to make an impression?

Thomas Hood (1798–1845).

DCCXCVI.

ON ONE LAURA.

"Tell me," said Laura, "what may be
The difference 'twixt a clock and me."
"Laura," I cried, "Love prompts my powers
To do the task you've set them :
A clock reminds us of the hours,
You cause us to forget them."

Anon.

DCCXCVII.

ON A YOUNG LADY WITH GREY HAIRS.

Mark'd by extremes, Susannah's beauty bears

Life's opposite extremes-youth's blossoms and grey hairs. Meet sign for one in whom combined are seen

Wisdom's ripe fruit and roses of fifteen.

Anon.

DCCXCVIII.

ON A MODERN ACTRESS.

"Miss Neilson's 'benefit," one says:
I ask to what the phrase refers ;
For, sure, when such an artist plays,
The "benefit" is ours, not hers.

Anon.

311

BOOK XII.

Translations and Imitations.

DCCXCIX.

ON ONE WITH A LONG NOSE.

Beware, my friend! of crystal brook
Or fountain, lest that hideous hook,
Thy nose, thou chance to see;
Narcissus' fate would then be thine,
And self-detested thou wouldst pine,
As self-enamoured he.

William Cowper (1731–1800).

[From the Greek of Lucillius, who "flourished" in the second century.]

DCCC.

ON ONE WEARING FALSE HAIR.

They say that thou dost tinge (O monstrous lie!)
The hair that thou so raven-black dost buy.

[From the Greek of Lucillius.]

Richard Garnett.

DCCCI.

ON A MISER.

A miser in his chamber saw a mouse,

And cried, dismay'd, "What dost thou in my house?" She with a laugh, "Good landlord, have no fear,

'T is not for board but lodging I came here."

[From the Greek of Lucillius.]

Richard Garnett.

DCCCII.

ON AN UGLY WOMAN.

Gellia, your mirror's false; you could not bear,
If it were true, to see your image there!

[From the Greek of Lucillius.]

Anon.

DCCCIII.

ON WIVES.

All wives are bad,--yet two blest hours they give, When first they wed, and when they cease to live.

John Herman Merivale.

[From the Greek of Palladas (about A.D. 370).]

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