Poems and Essays

by Joseph Howe




Joy rules the hour—the Fancy Ball
    Invites us all to pleasure—
Who would not answer to the call,
    And tread one jocund measure.

Ten fathoms deep let Care go down
    Beneath the sparkling tides
Where Strife and Envy sink and drown,
    And Beauty’s smile presides.

The lamps are lit, and Music’s swell
    Voluptuous fills the Hall,
And, yielding to the magic spell,
    Let’s view the Fancy Ball.

Not Xerxe’s eye, from Salamis,
    Such countless tribes discerned—
Not Peter’s army equall’d this,
    Nor Joseph’s coat when turned.

Turks and Albanians, Suliotes, Poles,
    And Indians from the mountain,
They gleam and rush and past us roll,
    Like bubbles in a Fountain. [Page 173]

Who have we here, bold “Robin Hood,”
    Array’d in kirtle green;
But Cupid has a shaft as good,
    Young ribs to glance between.

John Chinaman, in rich costume,
    To trade comes o’er the sea;
Heart whole he paces round the room,
    Yet does it to a T.

With stalwart limbs and ample chest,
    Springs forth the Matadore,
No bull he fears, but by my crest,
    He can’t abide a bore.

Well dress’d and stately, Charles sustains
    With ease, his kingly part,
His head is safe, but faith he strains
    That blonde too near his heart.

What ho! Sir Miner, pick in hand,
    You’re countermined, I fear,
The Safety Lamps of all your band
    Could not protect you here.

Of proud Venetia’s noblest son
    Behold the stately mien,
Joy comes, but when the revel’s done
    His heart’s not in the scene.

The Course is clear—who’ll win, who’ll win?
    A Gallop—off they roll— [Page 174]
Good Jockey hold that Filly in—
    She’ll bolt, upon my soul.

See, see, they fly,—round, round, they go,
    Some lady’s lost a garter;
That girl, who thinks she’s caught a beau
    Has only caught a Tartar.

Sage William Penn must go the pace,
    That brawny maid will prove him,
Who’ll take the odds, he’ll win the race
    For flesh and spirit move him.

Bright Flower Girls, full half a score,
    Exhibit Fancy’s freaks,
We prize above their gather’d store
    The roses on their cheeks.

With “Jupon court and juste corset,”
    Yon Regimental daughter,
Whene’er she turns her eyes this way,
    Dooms all our hearts to slaughter.

Perhaps I might withstand her glance,
    Her smile I do not dread,
But, whirling in the mazy dance
    Her foot just turns my head.

Art, o’er that antique Dame has thrown,
    The air of days gone by,
Yet cannot curb the heaving zone
    Nor cloud that rolling eye. [Page 175]

Young Demoiselle, from Chizetcook,
    To sell your egg prepare,
I’ll buy it spite your merry look,
    If you the yolk (yoke) will share.

The Queen of Sheba—Queen of Love,
    May joy and bliss betide her;
But Charlie boy be on the move,
    There’s Solomon beside her.

See gentle Night, our hearts assail,
    So modest, yet so gay,
If shadow’d by her mystic veil
    Who’d ever wish for day?

FEBRUARY, 1850. [Page 176]