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Julia to her bosom friend Isabel.



You cruel dear! how can you treat me so?

When we left school you promised me, you know,

As clasped in tight embrace we sobbed farewell,

That all your daily doings you would tell;

And now almost a week has passed away

Since last you wrote. Have you, then naught to say?

Nothing of that young officer to tell,

Who danced so often with you, and so well?

Ah, dearest Bella! how I envied you,

As round, with him, on music's wings you flew!

A real ball! - unlike our school - day dances,

Where girl to girl now sets and now advances,

So primly staid, so orderly, and slow,

Mid cries of "Shoulders down!" and "Point the toe!"

A real ball is, as you say, divine;

And now, dear Bella, you shall hear of mine.

For we have had a ball, and - can you guess?-

Another still, with all in fancy dress!

Let me begin at the beginning. Well,

The first was planned by dear Aunt Isabel -

Your namesake, love! and -next, of course, to you -

The dearest darling that I ever knew!

Crowds were invited - all our many cousins,

With neighbours’ children, reckoned by the dozens;

And, as their steps some little ones I taught,

A friend my likeness capitally caught:

One tiny tot kept footing it about,

Until her skipping fairly tired me out.

The dance went off delightfully, and all

Enjoyed themselves immensely - great and small.

We grown-up ones, I’m sure, were quite as gay

As were the romping children in their play.

But how shall I describe each circumstance

Of our delicious fancy - costume dance?

I’m sure no Lord Mayor’s bal costume ever

Surpassed our ball in motley groups - no, never!

Laplanders, Spaniards, Indians, Japanese,

And other folk, whose names you cough and sneeze!

With Harlequins, and Fairies, and Paul Prys,

And Merry Andrews - such a host of Guys!

And Barney Brallaghan fit partner had

In Judy Callaghan, both dancing mad!

This much I’ll say - of fun there was galore!

But how we dressed, what characters we bore,

And all that happened, must be left to tell

When next we meet again, dear Isabel!

So, for the present, my beloved, Adieu!

A thousand kisses sweet I blow to you!


Dear me! I had forgotten to allude

To one quaint scene - a kind of interlude.

A troop of rustic maidens came, with flowers -

To represent, I think, the Summer Hours -

Or something of the sort - as gifts from Flora,

Fresh from her altar gathered, for Aurora.

Well, these same nymphs, with rarest blooms bedecked,

Came gliding in, slow-paced, serene, erect:

To measured steps they chanted mystic rhymes -

Echoes, I’m told, from mythologic times.

Before each charming pair a little pet -

A boy and girl alternately - was set,

as kind of  herald, so it seemed to me. -

A single group is sketched for you to see.

               SECOND POSTSCRIPT.

I add this scrap of paper just to say -

A certain gentleman has called to-day!

               THIRD POSTSCRIPT.

What do you think- I scare believe it true-

Papa next week will drive me o’er to Kew!

Then won’t we have a nice long tete-a-tete!

Of all our doings we’ll confabulate!

Fast-locked within each other’s arms, my dear

I’ll whisper such a secret in your ear!

Well, I declare! There goes the dinner-bell!

Good-bye! Good-bye! Your lovingest friend - J.L.



Dance Poetry
A comprehensive anthology
Edited by Alkis Raftis
Copyright 2012