Next turn we to the gay saloon

Next turn we to the gay saloon,
Resplendent as a summer noon,
Where, 'neath a pendent wreath of lights,
A Zodiac of flowers and tapers —
(Such as in Russian ball-rooms sheds
Its glory o'er young dancers' heads) —
Quadrille performs her mazy rites,
And reigns supreme o'er slides and capers: —
Working to death each opera strain,
As, with a foot that ne'er reposes,
She jigs thro' sacred and profane,
From " Maid and Magpie " up to " Moses; " —
Wearing out tunes as fast as shoes,
Till fagged Rossini scarce respires;
Till Meyerbeer for mercy sues,
And Weber at her feet expires.

And now the set hath ceased — the bows
Of fiddlers taste a brief repose,
While light along the painted floor,
Arm within arm, the couples stray,
Talking their stock of nothings o'er,
Till — nothing 's left at last to say.
When lo! — most opportunely sent —
Two Exquisites, a he and she,
Just brought from Dandyland, and meant
For Fashion's grand Menagerie,
Entered the room — and scarce were there
When all flocked round them, glad to stare
At any monsters, any where.
Some thought them perfect, to their tastes;
While others hinted that the waists
(That in particular of the he thing)
Left far too ample room for breathing:
Whereas, to meet these critic' wishes,
The isthmus there should be so small,
That Exquisites, at last, like fishes,
Must manage not to breathe at all.
The female (these same critics said),
Tho' orthodox from toe to chin,
Yet lacked that spacious width of head
To hat of toadstool much akin —
That build of bonnet, whose extent
Should, like a doctrine of dissent,
Puzzle church-doors to let it in.

However — sad as 't was, no doubt,
That nymph so smart should go about,
With head unconscious of the place
It ought to fill in Infinite Space —
Yet all allowed that, of her kind ,
A prettier show 't was hard to find;
While of that doubtful genus, " dressy men, "
The male was thought a first-rate specimen.
Such Savans , too, as wisht to trace
The manners, habits, of this race —
To know what rank (if rank at all)
'Mong reasoning things to them should fall —
What sort of notions heaven imparts
To high-built heads and tight-laced hearts
And how far Soul, which, Plato says,
Abhors restraint, can act in stays —
Might now, if gifted with discerning,
Find opportunities of learning:
As these two creatures — from their pout
And frown, 't was plain — had just fallen out;
And all their little thoughts, of course,
Were stirring in full fret and force; —
Like mites, through microscope espied,
A world of nothings magnified.

But mild the vent such beings seek,
The tempest of their souls to speak;
As Opera swains to fiddles sigh,
To fiddles fight, to fiddles die,
Even so this tender couple set
Their well-bred woes to a Duet.
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