Once a Week (magazine)/Series 1/Volume 1/Night and morning

Illustrated by John Leech.


Night and Morning (Leech).png

So they’ve sent you a card, my Adonis,
For the Countess’s ball of to-night;
You fancy no fate like your own is,
No future so charmingly bright.

It costs half-a-crown for a Hansom
To go to that beautiful ball,
Though shortly a duchess’s ransom
You’d give to have not gone at all.

For you dance with some lovely young creature
With a winning soft grace and a smile;
And you dwell on each look and each feature
As if Paradise opened the while:

You clasp her slight waist in the “Dewdrop,”
Though you feel that your touch is profane,
And think that fair burthen ere you’d drop
You would die to the cornet’s wild strain.

The cornet blows louder and brisker,
She grows more confiding and weak,
Her soft tresses tickle your whisker,
Her soft breath is warm on your cheek;

And in the excitement grown bolder,
You murmur soft words in her ear,
And in blushes quite low on your shoulder
She replies what Mamma must not hear;

Replies: “I delight in these crushes,
One can talk though the dances are full;
You don’t go next week to the duchess?
Then I’m sure I shall find it quite dull.”

But now for the next dance they’re starting,
She shrinks to the chaperon’s wings;
You press the small hand in the parting,
And her eyes say unspeakable things.

You cherish for many days after
The look that so lovingly beams:
’Tis a sorrow that stifles your laughter,
’Tis a joy that is bright on your dreams.

You fancy, so lightly she dances,
Her dear little foot on your stair;
You people with those sunny glances
A sweet little home in May Fair:

You saw that all eyes were upon her
As she moved down that glittering room,
And you fancy, when once you have won her,
How pretty she’ll look in your brougham.

O! visions that madly you cherish;
O! smile that was cruelly false;
O! hopes that were born but to perish;
O! dream that has fled with the valse!

When next you meet, doffing your beaver,
You look for her bow—but in vain—
The dear little ball-room deceiver
Doesn’t offer to know you again.

Can it be you have flirted together?—
Now she on her hack canters by;
And you’re not worth one wave of her feather;
You’re not worth one glance of her eye.

Then, like ships without sailors to man ’em,
Your visions seem drifting away,
And you count your few hundreds per annum,
And their fractions at each Quarter-day.

And this, when you sum the case up, is
The result (though your feelings it hurts),—
All men are self-confident puppies,
All women are frivolous flirts!

R. Benson.