Open main menu

Page:The Works of Lord Byron (ed. Coleridge, Prothero) - Volume 1.djvu/538

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
494
THE WALTZ.

Seductive Waltz!—though on thy native shore
Even Werter's self proclaimed thee half a whore;
Werter—to decent vice though much inclined,
Yet warm, not wanton; dazzled, but not blind—150
Though gentle Genlis,[1] in her strife with Staël,
Would even proscribe thee from a Paris ball;
The fashion hails—from Countesses to Queens,
And maids and valets waltz behind the scenes;
Wide and more wide thy witching circle spreads,
And turns—if nothing else—at least our heads;
With thee even clumsy cits attempt to bounce,
And cockney's practise what they can't pronounce.
Gods! how the glorious theme my strain exalts,
And Rhyme finds partner Rhyme in praise of "Waltz!"


  1. [Madame Genlis (Stephanie Félicité Ducrest, Marquise de Sillery), commenting on the waltz, writes, "As a foreigner, I shall not take the liberty to censure this kind of dance; but this I can say, that it appears intolerable to German writers of superior merits who are not accused of severity of manners," and by way of example instances M. Jacobi, who affirms that "Werther (Sorrows of Werther, Letter ix.), the lover of Charlotte, swears that, were he to perish for it, never should a girl for whom he entertained any affection, and on whom he had honourable views, dance the waltz with any other man besides himself."—Selections from the Works of Madame de Genlis (1806), p. 65.

    Compare, too, "Faulkland" on country-dances in The Rivals, act ii. sc. 1, "Country-dances! jigs and reels! ... A minuet I could have forgiven.... Zounds! had she made one in a cotillon—I believe I could have forgiven even that—but to be monkey-led for a night! to run the gauntlet through a string of amorous palming puppies ... Oh, Jack, there never can be but one man in the world whom a truly modest and delicate woman ought to pair with in a country-dance; and even then, the rest of the couples should be her great-uncles and aunts!"]