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Such was his tact, he could alike delight

The chaste, and those who are not so much inspired. The Duchess of Fitz-Fulke, who loved « tracasserie » Began to treat him with some small « agacerie. »

XLII.

She was a fine and somewhat full-blown blonde,
Desirable, distinguish'd, celebrated

For several winters in the grand, grand monde.
I'd rather not say what might be related
Of her exploits, for this were ticklish ground;
Besides there might be falsehood in what's stated:
Her late performance had been a dead set
At lord Augustus Fitz-Plantagenet.

XLIII.

This noble personage began to look
A little black upon this new flirtation;
But such small licences must lovers brook,
Mere freedoms of the female corporation.
Woe to the man who ventures a rebuke!
"Twill but precipitate a situation
Extremely disagreeable, but common
To calculators when they count on woman.

XLIV.

The circle smiled, then whisper'd, and then sneer'd; The misses bridled, and the matrons frown'd; Some hope things might not turn out as they fear'd;

Some would not deem such women could be found; Some ne'er believed one half of what they heard; Some look'd perplex'd, and others look'd profound;

And several pitied with sincere regret

Poor Lord Augustus Fitz-Plantagenet.

XLV.

But what is odd, none ever named the Duke,

Who, one might think, was something in the affair. True, he was absent, and 'twas rumour'd, took

But small concern about the when, or where, Or what his consort did: if he could brook

Her gaieties, none had a right to stare:
Theirs was that best of unions, past all doubt,
Which never meets, and therefore can't fall out.
XLVI.

But, oh that I should ever pen so sad a line!
Fired with an abstract love of virtue, she,
My Dian of the Ephesians, Lady Adeline,
Began to think the duchess' conduct free;
Regretting much that she had chosen so bad a line,
And waxing chiller in her courtesy,

Looked grave and pale to see her friend's fragility,
For which most friends reserve their sensibility.

XLVII.

There's nought in this bad world like sympathy:
'Tis so becoming to the soul and face,
Sets to soft music the harmonious sigh,
And robes sweet friendship in a Brussels lace.
Without a friend, what were humanity,

To hunt our errors up with a good grace? Consoling us with-« Would you had thought twice! « Ah! if you had but follow'd my advice! »>

XLVIII.

Oh, Job! you had two friends: one's quite enough, Especially when we are ill at ease;

They are but bad pilots when the weather's rough, Doctors less famous for their cures than fees.

Let no man grumble when his friends fall off,
As they will do like leaves at the first breeze:
When

your affairs come round, one way or t'other, Go to the coffee-house, and take another. *

XLIX.

But this is not my maxim: had it been,

Some hear-aches had been spared me; yet I care not I would not be a tortoise in his screen

Of stubborn shell, which waves and weather wear not. 'Tis better on the whole to have felt and seen That which humanity may bear, or bear not: 'Twill teach discernment to the sensitive, And not to pour their ocean in a sieve.

L.

Of all the horrid, hideous notes of woe,
Sadder than owl-songs or the midnight blast,
Is that portentous phrase, « I told you so, »

Utter'd by friends, those prophets of the past
Who, 'stead of saying what you now should do,

Own they foresaw that you would fall at last, And solace your slight lapse 'gainst «bonos mores With a long memorandum of old stories.

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* In Swift's or Horace Walpole's letters I think it is mentioned, that somebody regretting the loss of a friend, was answered by an universal Pylades: When I lose one, I go to the Saint James's Coffee-house, and take another..

I recollect having heard an anecdote of the same kind. Sir W. D. was a great gamester. Coming in one day to the club of which he was a member, he was observed to look melancholy. What is the matter, Sir William? » cried Hare of facetious memory. « Ah! » replied Sir W. « I have just lost poor Lady D.» « Lost! What at? Quinze or Hlazard? was the consolatory rejoinder of the querist.

«

LI.

The Lady Adeline's serene severity

Was not confined to feeling for her friend,
Whose fame she rather doubted with posterity,
Unless her habits should begin to mend
But Juan also shared in her austerity,

But mix'd with pity, pure as e'er was penn'd.
His inexperience moved her gentle ruth,
And (as her junior by six weeks) his youth.

LII.

These forty days advantage of her years

And hers were those which can face calculation, Boldly referring to the list of peers

And noble births, nor dread the enumerationGave her a right to have maternal fears

For a young gentleman's fit education,

Though she was far from that leap year, whose leap, In female dates, strikes Time all of a heap.

LIII.

This may be fix'd at somewhere before thirty-
Say seven-and-twenty; for I never knew
The strictest in chronology and virtue

Advance beyond, while they could pass for new.
Oh, Time! Why dost not pause? Thy scythe, so dirty
With rust, should surely cease to hack and hew.
Reset it; shave more smoothly, also slower,
If but to keep thy credit as a mower.

LIV.

But Adeline was far from that ripe age,
Whose ripeness is but bitter at the best:
'Twas rather her experience made her sage,
For she had seen the world, and stood its test,

As I have said in-I forget what page;

My Muse despises reference, as you have guess'd By this time;-but strike six from seven-and-twenty, And you will find her sum of years in plenty.

LV.

At sixteen she came out; presented, vaunted,
She put all coronets into commotion:
At seventeen too the world was still enchanted
With the new Venus of their brilliant ocean.
At eighteen, though below her feet still panted
A hecatomb of suitors with devotion,

She had consented to create again

That Adam, called « the Happiest of Men. »

LVI.

Since then she had sparkled through three glowing winters,

Admired, adored; but also so correct, That she had puzzled all the acutest hinters, Without the apparel of being circumspect: They could not even glean the slightest splinters From off the marble, which had no defect. She had also snatch'd a moment since her marriage To bear a son and heir-and one miscarriage.

LVII.

Fondly the wheeling fire-flies flew around her,
Those little glitterers of the London night;
But none of these possess'd a sting to wound her-
She was a pitch beyond a coxcomb's flight.
Perhaps she wish'd an aspirant profounder;

But whatsoe'er she wished, she acted right;
And whether coldness, pride, or virtue, dignify
A Woman, so she's good, what does it signify?

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