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ODE TO SOCIETY.*

I.

SOCIETY! gregarious dame!
Who knows thy favour'd haunts to name?
Whether at Paris you prepare
The supper and the chat to share,
While fix'd in artificial row,
Laughter displays its teeth of snow:
Grimace with raillery rejoices,
And
song

of

many mingled voices,
Till young coquetry's artful wile
Some foreign novice shall beguile,
Who home return'd, still prates of thee,
Light, flippant, French Society.

II.

Or whether, with your zone unbound,
You ramble gaudy Venice round,
Resolv'd the inviting sweets to prove,
Of friendship warm, and willing love;
Where softly roll th' obedient seas,
Sacred to luxury and ease,

* This ode was probably suggested by Grainger's “Ode to Solitude.” The copy in “Thraliana” is not quite the same, and she adds : “ These verses were written in a state of complete solitude, for I never saw a place so secluded from the busy hum of men as our little habitation at the Bagni di Pisa.”

In coffee-house or casino gay
Till the too quick return of day,
Th'enchanted votary who sighs
For sentiments without disguise,
Clear, unaffected, fond, and free,
In Venice finds Society.

III.

Or if to wiser Britain led,
Your vagrant feet desire to tread,
With measur’d step and anxious care,
The precincts pure of Portman-square;
While wit with elegance combin'd,
And polish'd manners there you'll find;
The taste correct and fertile mind :
Remember vigilance lurks near,
And silence with unnotic'd sneer,
Who watches but to tell again
Your foibles with to-morrow's pen;
Till titt'ring malice smiles to see
Your wonder - grave Society.

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IV.

Far from your busy crowded court,
Tranquillity makes her resort;
Where 'mid cold Staffa's columns rude,
Resides majestic Solitude ;
Or where in some sad Brachman's cell,
Meek Innocence delights to dwell,
Weeping with unexperienc'd eye,
The death of a departed fly:
* The residence of her old rival, Mrs. Montagu.

Or in Hetruria's heights sublime,
Where Science self might fear to climb,
But that she seeks a smile from thee,
And wooes thy praise, Society.

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V.

Thence let me view the plains below,
From rough St. Julian's rugged brow;
Hear the loud torrents swift descending,
Or mark the beauteous rainbow bending,
Till Heaven regains its favourite hue,
Æther divine ! celestial blue!
Then bosom'd high in myrtle bower,
View letter'd Pisa's pendent tower;
The sea's wide scene, the port's loud throng,
Of rude and gentle, right and wrong
A motley group which yet agree
To call themselves Society.

VI.

Oh! thou still sought by wealth and fame,
Dispenser of applause and blame:
With flatt'ry ever at thy side,
With slander can thy smiles divide;
Far from thy haunts, oh ! let me stray,
But grant one friend to cheer my way,
Whose converse bland, whose music's art,
May cheer my soul, and heal my heart;
Let soft content our steps pursue,
And bliss eternal bound our view :

Pow'r I'll resign, and pomp, and glee,
Thy best-lov'd sweets-Society.

DIDO EPIGRAMS.

We were speaking the other day of the famcus epigram in Ausonius :

“ Infelix Dido, nulli bene nupta marito,
Hoc moriente fugis, hoc fugiente peris.”

Two lords, in vain, unlucky Dido tries,
One dead, she flies the land; one fled, she dies. *

" Pauvre Didon ! ou t'a réduite

De tes maris la triste sort;
L’un en mourant cause ta fuite,

L'autre en fuyant cause ta mort.”

is reckoned a beautiful version of this epigram.

There is, however, a very old passage in Davison, alluding to the same story :

“Oh, most unhappy Dido !

Unlucky wife, and eke unhappy widow :

* To the same class of jeux d'esprit as this epitaph on Dido, belongs one made on Thynne, “Tom of Ten Thousand,” after his assassination by Konigsmark, who wished to marry the widow, the heiress of the Percys. Thynne's marriage had not been consummated, and he was said to have promised marriage to a maid of honour whom he had seduced.

“Here lies Tom Thynne of Longleat Hall,

Who never would so have miscarried,
Had he married the woman he lay withal,

Or lay with the woman he married.”

Unhappy in thy honest mate,

And in thy love unfortunate.” When Lady Bolingbroke led off the Crim. Con. Dance, about thirty-five years ago, the town made a famous bustle concerning her ladyship's name - Diana.

She married Topham Beauclerc, and when her first husband died, some wag made these verses :

“ Ah ! lovely, luckless Lady Di,

So oddly link'd to either spouse:
Who can your Gordian knot untie?

Or who dissolve your double vows ?
“ And where will our amazement lead to,

When we survey your various life?
Whose living lord made you a widow,

Whose dead one leaves you still a wife.”

Will it amuse you to read some of the unmerited praises I picked up in this charming society ? When we all stood round the pianoeforte, and I felt encouraged to reply to Bertola's complimentary verses, which were certainly improvised : when he sung :

:
- Esser mi saran fatali

Cento rivali e cento;
Ma più che i miei rivali

La tua virtú pavento.
“ Non in sen d'angliche mura

I tuoi be' lumi al dì si schiuse;
Tu nascesti, da un dio me lo giura,

Ove nacquero le Muse."

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