Home Life Works Articles Contact

Anna Jane Vardill

An Englishman’s Farewell to a Converzazione

Farewell the hour to panting poets dear,
 When guests assembled grace the lighted room,
While Wit, and Taste, and fragrant tea appear,
 And the broad sofa yields the Muses room!

Farewell the burnish’d stove’s reviving blaze,
 Or softer radiance lent by lustres high,
To starry eyes which shun th’ enquirer’s gaze,
 And cheeks whose blushes mean a kind reply.

Ah! who can tell the transports of that hour,
 When licens’d hands the rich portfeuille unlock,
While dumb Attention claims her awful pow’r,
 Till Night’s hoarse guardian growls, “Past ten o’clock.”

Then the soft whisper of suppress’d applause,
 The half-spread fan, the retroverted chair,
The conscious smile, the still and solemn pause—
 Ah! who can feel like those whose odes are there!

But when the sacred book majestic drops,
 When the hush’d hammer gives no warning sound,
Swift as a torrent which no barrier stops,
 How brightly rolls the stream of chit-chat round!

How rich, how balmy, to the fainting bard,
 One drop of comfort from that stream to sip,
Or from his fair one’s hand to claim reward,
 While praise and custard mingle on her lip.

Alas! for me that hour returns no more—
 On me no nymph shall cast a favoring glance,
When the light Graces tempt th’ elastic floor,
 And Phœbus drops his lyre—to call a dance.

Dire was that fatal night when o’er my head
 Malignant Morpheus wav’d his poppy-rod,
Till from my brain Wit, Love, and Fancy fled,
 And, shame to Britain—Ida saw me nod!

Yet, best lov’d Ida! hear a culprit plead,
 Not unrelenting seal the dire decree;
Wit, Love, and Fancy, may excuse the deed,
 For if I slept, I only dreamt of thee.

One long, long day, and half a tedious night,
 In vain for tuneful syllables I sought;
I dipp’d my silver pen, but could not write,
 And nought was all, and every thing was nought.

Then is it wondrous if when Ida smil’d,
 When the soft murmurs of delight arose,
That balmy sleep my dazzled eyes beguil’d,
 And steep’d my senses in a gentle doze?

Yet let me still in transient dreams enjoy
 The bliss, the triumph that a poet feeds:
Celestial visions must the soul employ
 Of him who slumbers while an angel reads.


The European Magazine, Vol. 78, September 1820, p. 263