Summer Fête, The - Part 2

Now in his Palace of the West,
Sinking to slumber, the bright Day,
Like a tired monarch fanned to rest,
Mid the cool airs of Evening lay;
While round his couch's golden rim
The gaudy clouds, like courtiers, crept —
Struggling each other's light to dim,
And catch his last smile e'er he slept.
How gay, as o'er the gliding Thames
The golden eve its lustre poured,
Shone out the high-born knights and dames
Now grouped around that festal board;
A living mass of plumes and flowers,
As tho' they'd robbed both birds and bowers —
A peopled rainbow, swarming thro'
With habitants of every hue;
While, as the sparkling juice of France
High in the crystal brimmers flowed,
Each sunset ray that mixt by chance
With the wine's sparkles, showed
How sunbeams may be taught to dance.
If not in written form exprest,
'T was known at least to every guest,
That, tho' not bidden to parade
Their scenic powers in masquerade,
(A pastime little found to thrive
In the bleak fog of England's skies,
Where wit 's the thing we best contrive,
As masqueraders, to disguise ,)
It yet was hoped — and well that hope
Was answered by the young and gay —
That in the toilet's task to-day
Fancy should take her wildest scope; —
That the rapt milliner should be
Let loose thro fields of poesy,
The tailor, in inventive trance,
Up to the heights of Epic clamber,
And all the regions of Romance
Be ransackt by the femme de chambre .

Accordingly, with gay Sultanas,
Rebeccas, Sapphos, Roxalanas —
Circassian slaves whom Love would pay
Half his maternal realms to ransom; —
Young nuns, whose chief religion lay
In looking most profanely handsome; —
Muses in muslin — pastoral maids
With hats from the Arcade-ian shades,
And fortune-tellers, rich, 't was plain,
As fortune- hunters formed their train.

With these and more such female groups,
Were mixt no less fantastic troops
Of male exhibiters — all willing
To look even more than usual killing; —
Beau tyrants, smock-faced braggadocios,
And brigands, charmingly ferocious: —
M. P. 's turned Turks, good Moslems then,
Who, last night, voted for the Greeks;
And Friars, stanch No-Popery men,
In close confab with Whig Caciques.

But where is she — the nymph whom late
We left before her glass delaying,
Like Eve, when by the lake she sate,
In the clear wave her charms surveying,
And saw in that first glassy mirror
The first fair face that lured to error.
" Where is she, " ask'st thou? — watch all looks
As centring to one point they bear,
Like sun-flowers by the sides of brooks,
Turned to the sun — and she is there.
Even in disguise, oh never doubt
By her own light you 'd track her out:
As when the moon, close shawled in fog,
Steals as she thinks, thro' heaven incog .,
Tho' hid herself, some sidelong ray
At every step, detects her way.

But not in dark disguise to-night
Hath our young heroine veiled her light; —
For see, she walks the earth, Love's own.
His wedded bride, by holiest vow
Pledged in Olympus, and made known
To mortals by the type which now
Hangs glittering on her snowy brow,
That butterfly, mysterious trinket,
Which means the Soul (tho' few would think it),
And sparkling thus on brow so white,
Tells us we 've Psyche here tonight!
But hark! some song hath caught her ears —
And, lo, how pleased, as tho' she' d ne'er
Heard the Grand Opera of the Spheres,
Her goddess-ship approves the air;
And to a mere terrestrial strain,
Inspired by naught but pink champagne,
Her butterfly as gayly nods
As tho' she sate with all her tram
At some great Concert of the Gods,
With Phaebus, leader — Jove, director,
And half the audience drunk with nectar.

From the male group the carol came —
A few gay youths whom round the board
The last-tried flask's superior fame
Had lured to taste the tide it poured;
And one who from his youth and lyre
Seemed grandson to the Teian-sire,
Thus gayly sung, while, to his song,
Replied in chorus the gay throng: —
Rate this poem: 


No reviews yet.