And nightly smiles, and daily dinners,
Proclaim you war and women's winners.30
Pardon my Muse, who apt to prate is,
And take my rhyme—because 'tis "gratis."
And now I've got to Mrs. Fraser,
Perhaps you think I mean to praise her—
And were I vain enough to think
My praise was worth this drop of ink,
A line—or two—were no hard matter,
As here, indeed, I need not flatter:
But she must be content to shine
In better praises than in mine,40
With lively air, and open heart,
And fashion's ease, without its art;
Her hours can gaily glide along.
Nor ask the aid of idle song.
And now, O Malta! since thou'st got us,
Thou little military hot-house!
I'll not offend with words uncivil,
And wish thee rudely at the Devil,
But only stare from out my casement,
And ask, "for what is such a place meant?"50
Then, in my solitary nook,
Return to scribbling, or a book,
- ["We have had balls and fêtes given us by all classes here, and it is impossible to convey to you the sensation our success has given rise to."—Memoirs and Letters of Sir W. Hoste, ii. 82.]
- [Mrs. (Susan) Fraser published, in 1809, "Camilla de Florian (the scene is laid in Valetta) and Other Poems. By an Officer's Wife." Byron was, no doubt, struck by her admiration for Macpherson's Ossian, and had read with interest her version of "The Address to the Sun," in Carthon, p. 31 (see Poetical Works, 1898, i. 229). He may, too, have regarded with favour some stanzas in honour of the Bolero (p. 82), which begin, "When, my Love, supinely laying."]