Phantasmagoria and Other Poems/Atalanta in Camden-Town


Ay, 'twas here, on this spot,
In that summer of yore,
Atalanta did not
Vote my presence a bore,
Nor reply, to my tenderest talk, she had 'heard all
that nonsense before.'

She'd the brooch I had bought
And the necklace and sash on,
And her heart, as I thought,
Was alive to my passion;
And she'd done up her hair in the style that the
Empress had brought into fashion.

I had been to the play
With my pearl of a Peri—
But, for all I could say,
She declared she was weary,
That 'the place was so crowded and hot', and she
'couldn't abide that Dundreary.'

Then I thought "'Tis for me
That she whines and she whimpers!"
And it soothed me to see
Those sensational simpers,
And I said "This is scrumptious!"—a phrase I had
learned from the Devonshire shrimpers.

And I vowed "'Twill be said
I'm a fortunate fellow,
When the breakfast is spread,
When the topers are mellow,
When the foam of the bride-cake is white, and the
fierce orange-blossoms are yellow."

O that languishing yawn!
O those eloquent eyes!
I was drunk with the dawn
Of a splendid surmise—
I was stung by a look, I was slain by a tear, by a
tempest of sighs.

And I whispered "I guess
The sweet secret thou keepest,
And the dainty distress
That thou wistfully weepest;
And the question is 'License or banns?' though
undoubtedly banns are the cheapest."

Then her white hand I clasped,
And with kisses I crowned it:
But she glared and she gasped,
And she muttered "Confound it!"—
Or at least it was something like that, but the noise
of the omnibus drowned it.