In the Marquee

It was near last century's ending,
And, though not much to rate
In a world of getting and spending,
To her it was great.

The scene was a London suburb
On a night of summer weather,
And the villas had back gardens
Running together.

Her neighbours behind were dancing
Under a marquee;
Two violoncellos played there,
And violins three.

She had not been invited,
Although her lover was;
She lay beside her husband,
Perplexed at the cause.

Sweet after sweet quadrille rang:
Absence made her weep;
The tears dried on her eyelids
As she fell asleep.

She dreamt she was whirling with him
In this dance upon the green
To which she was not invited
Though her lover had been.

All night she danced as he clasped her—
That is, in the happy dream
The music kept her dreaming
Till the first daybeam.

‘O damn those noisy fiddles!’
Her husband said as he turned:
‘Close to a neighbour's bedroom:
I'd like them burned!’

At intervals thus all night-long
Her husband swore. But she
Slept on, and danced in the loved arms,
Under the marquee.

Next day she found that her lover,
Though asked, had gone elsewhere,
And that she had possessed him in absence
More than if there.
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