When leaving Eden’s happy land
The grieving Angel led by the hand
Our banish’d Father and Mother,
Forgotten amid their awful doom,
The tears, the fears, and the future’s gloom,
On each brow was a wreath of Paradise bloom,
That our Parents had twined for each other.
It was only while sitting like figures of stone,
For the grieving Angel had skyward flown,
As they sat, those Two in the world alone,
With disconsolate hearts nigh cloven,
That scenting the gust of happier hours,
They look’d around for the precious flow’rs,
And lo!—a last relic of Eden’s dear bow’rs—
The chaplet that Love had woven!
And still, when a pair of Lovers meet,
There’s a sweetness in air, unearthly sweet,
That savors still of that happy retreat
Where Eve by Adam was courted:
Whilst the joyous Thrush, and the gentle Dove,
Woo’d their mates in the boughs above,
And the Serpent, as yet, only sported.
Who hath not felt that breath in the air,
A perfume and freshness strange and rare,
A warmth in the light, and a bliss everywhere,
When young hearts yearn together?
All sweets below, and all sunny above,
Oh! there’s nothing in life like making love,
Save making hay in fine weather!
Who hath not found amongst his flow’rs
A blossom too bright for this world of ours,
Like a rose among snows of Sweden?
But to turn again to Miss Kilmansegg,
Where must Love have gone to beg,
If such a thing as a Golden Leg
Had put its foot in Eden!
And yet—to tell the rigid truth—
Her favor was sought by Age and Youth—
For the prey will find a prowler!
She was follow’d, flatter’d, courted, address’d,
Woo’d, and coo’d, and wheedled, and press’d,
By suitors from North, South, East, and West,
Like that Heiress, in song, Tibbie Fowler!
But, alas! alas! for the Woman’s fate,
Who has from a mob to choose a mate!
’Tis a strange and painful mystery!
But the more the eggs, the worse the hatch;
The more the fish, the worse the catch;
The more the sparks, the worse the match;
Is a fact in Woman’s history.
Give her between a brace to pick,
And, mayhap, with luck to help the trick,
She will take the Faustus, and leave the Old Nick—
But her future bliss to baffle,
Amongst a score let her have a voice,
And she’ll have as little cause to rejoice,
As if she had won the “Man of her choice”
In a matrimonial raffle!
Thus, even thus, with the Heiress and Hope,
Fulfilling the adage of too much rope,
With so ample a competition,
She chose the least worthy of all the group,
Just as the vulture makes a stoop,
And singles out from the herd or troop
The beast of the worst condition.
A Foreign Count—who came incog.,
Not under a cloud, but under a fog,
In a Calais packet’s fore-cabin,
To charm some lady British-born,
With his eyes as black as the fruit of the thorn,
And his hooky nose, and his beard half-shorn,
Like a half-converted Rabbin.
And because the Sex confess a charm
In the man who has slash’d a head or arm
Or has been a throat’s undoing,
He was dress’d like one of the glorious trade,
At least when glory is off parade,
With a stock, and a frock, well trimm’d with braid,
And frogs—that went a-wooing.
Moreover, as Counts are apt to do,
On the left-hand side of his dark surtout,
At one of those holes that buttons go through,
(To be a precise recorder,)
A ribbon he wore, or rather a scrap,
About an inch of ribbon mayhap.
That one of his rivals, a whimsical chap,
Described as his “Retail Order.”
And then—and much it help’d his chance—
He could sing, and play first fiddle, and dance,
Perform charades, and Proverbs of France—
Act the tender, and do the cruel;
For amongst his other killing parts,
He had broken a brace of female hearts,
And murder’d three men in duel!
Savage at heart, and false of tongue,
Subtle with age, and smooth to the young,
Like a snake in his coiling and curling—
Such was the Count—to give him a niche—
Who came to court that Heiress rich,
And knelt at her foot—one needn’t say which—
Besieging her castle of Stirling.
With pray’rs and vows he open’d his trench,
And plied her with English, Spanish, and French
In phrases the most sentimental:
And quoted poems in High and Low Dutch,
With now and then an Italian touch,
Till she yielded, without resisting much,
To homage so continental.
And then—the sordid bargain to close—
With a miniature sketch of his hooky nose,
And his dear dark eyes, as black as sloes,
And his beard and whiskers as black as those,
The lady’s consent he requited—
And instead of the lock that lovers beg,
The Count received from Miss Kilmansegg
A model, in small, of her Precious Leg—
And so the couple were plighted!
But, oh! the love that gold must crown!
Better—better, the love of the clown,
Who admires his lass in her Sunday gown,
As if all the fairies had dress’d her!
Whose brain to no crooked thought gives birth,
Except that he never will part on earth
With his true love’s crooked tester!
Alas! for the love that’s link’d with gold!
Better—better a thousand times told—
More honest, happy, and laudable,
The downright loving of pretty Cis,
Who wipes her lips, though there’s nothing amiss,
And takes a kiss, and gives a kiss,
In which her heart is audible!
Pretty Cis, so smiling and bright,
Who loves—as she labors—with all her might,
And without any sordid leaven!
Who blushes as red as haws and hips,
Down to her very finger-tips,
For Roger’s blue ribbons—to her, like strips
Cut out of the azure of Heaven!