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ODE TO SOCIETY.*
SOCIETY! gregarious dame!
many mingled voices,
Or whether, with your zone unbound,
* 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
Or if to wiser Britain led,
Far from your busy crowded court,
Or in Hetruria's heights sublime,
Thence let me view the plains below,
Oh! thou still sought by wealth and fame,
Pow'r I'll resign, and pomp, and glee,
We were speaking the other day of the famcus epigram in Ausonius :
“ Infelix Dido, nulli bene nupta marito,
Two lords, in vain, unlucky Dido tries,
" Pauvre Didon ! ou t'a réduite
De tes maris la triste sort;
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,
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:
Or who dissolve your double vows ?
When we survey your various life?
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 :
Cento rivali e cento;
La tua virtú pavento.
I tuoi be' lumi al dì si schiuse;
Ove nacquero le Muse."