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Collected Poems In Two Volumes, Vol. II

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AT THE SIGN OF THE LYRE. "At the Sign of the Lyre,"Good Folk, we present youWith the pick of our quire,And we hope to content you! Here be Ballad and Song,The fruits of our leisure,Some short and some long—May they all give you pleasure! But if, when you read,They should fail to restore you,Farewell, and God-speed—The world is before you! THE LADIES OF ST. JAMES'S.


"Phyllida amo ante alias."Virg. The ladies of St. James'sGo swinging to the play;Their footmen run before them,With a "Stand by! Clear the way!"But Phyllida, my Phyllida!She takes her buckled shoon,When we go out a-courtingBeneath the harvest moon. The ladies of St. James'sWear satin on their backs;They sit all night at Ombre,With candles all of wax:But Phyllida, my Phyllida!She dons her russet gown,And runs to gather May dewBefore the world is down. The ladies of St. James's!They are so fine and fair,You'd think a box of essencesWas broken in the air:But Phyllida, my Phyllida!The breath of heath and furze,When breezes blow at morning,Is not so fresh as hers. The ladies of St. James's!They're painted to the eyes;Their white it stays for ever,Their red it never dies:But Phyllida, my Phyllida!Her colour comes and goes;It trembles to a lily,—It wavers to a rose. The ladies of St. James's!You scarce can understandThe half of all their speeches,Their phrases are so grand:But Phyllida, my Phyllida!Her shy and simple wordsAre clear as after rain-dropsThe music of the birds. The ladies of St. James's!They have their fits and freaks;They smile on you—for seconds,They frown on you—for weeks:But Phyllida, my Phyllida!Come either storm or shine,From Shrove-tide unto Shrove-tide,Is always true—and mine. My Phyllida! my Phyllida!I care not though they heapThe hearts of all St. James's,And give me all to keep;I care not whose the beautiesOf all the world may be,For Phyllida—for PhyllidaIs all the world to me!

THE OLD SEDAN CHAIR. "What's not destroyed by Time's devouring Hand?Where's Troy, and where's the May-Pole in the Strand?"Bramston's "Art of Politicks." It stands in the stable-yard, under the eaves,Propped up by a broom-stick and covered with leaves:It once was the pride of the gay and the fair,But now 'tis a ruin,—that old Sedan chair! It is battered and tattered,—it little availsThat once it was lacquered, and glistened with nails;For its leather is cracked into lozenge and square,Like a canvas by Wilkie,—that old Sedan chair! See,—here came the bearing-straps; here were the holesFor the poles of the bearers—when once there were poles;It was cushioned with silk, it was wadded with hair,As the birds have discovered,—that old Sedan chair! "Where's Troy?" says the poet! Look,—under the seat,Is a nest with four eggs,—'tis the favoured retreatOf the Muscovy hen, who has hatched, I dare swear,Quite an army of chicks in that old Sedan chair! And yet—Can't you fancy a face in the frameOf the window,—some high-headed damsel or dame,Be-patched and be-powdered, just set by the stair,While they raise up the lid of that old Sedan chair? Can't you fancy Sir Plume, as beside her he stands,With his ruffles a-droop on his delicate hands,With his cinnamon coat, with his laced solitaire,As he lifts her out light from that old Sedan chair...?