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An extract from Elegy on the Abrogation of the Birth-Night Ball 

and consequent final Subversion of the Minuet



“No more the well-taught feet shall tread

The figures of the Mazy Zed;

The beau of other times shall mourn,

As gone and never to return,

The graceful bow, the curtsey low,

The floating forms that undulating glide

(Like anchored vessels on the swelling tide)

That rise and sink, alternate as they go,

Now bent the knee, now lifted on the toe,

The sidelong step that works it even way,

The slow ‘pas grave’ and slower ‘balancé’.

Be mine to trace the minuet’s fate

And weep its fallen glory.

In vain-these eyes, with tears of horror wet

Read its death warrant in the ‘Court Gazette’.

‘No ball to-night!’ Lord Chamberlain proclaims;

‘No ball to-night shall grace thy roof, St. James!’

‘No ball?’ the ‘Globe’, the ‘Sun’, the ‘Star’ repeat

The morning papers and the evening sheet;

Through all the land the tragic news has spread

And all the land has mourned the minuet dead.”


Catherine Maria Fanshawe

Dance Poetry
A comprehensive anthology
Edited by Alkis Raftis
Copyright 2012