Verse > Anthologies > Hamilton Fish Armstrong, ed. > The Book of New York Verse
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Hamilton Fish Armstrong, ed.  The Book of New York Verse.  1917.
 
The Ball, 1789
By H. C. Bunner
 
THE TOWN is at the Ball to-night,
  The Town is at the Ball;
From the Battery to Hickory Lane
  The Beaux come one and all.
The French folk up along the Sound        5
  Took carriage for the city,
And Madge the Belle, from New Rochelle,
  Will stop with Lady Kitty.
 
And if the Beaux could have their way
  Their choice would be, in Brief,        10
That Madge the Bell should lead the Ball
  And open with THE CHIEF.
Though Lady Kitty’s high estate
  May give this choice some reason,
By Right Divine Madge holds the place—        15
  The Toast of all the Season.
 
Behold her as she trips the floor
  By Lady Kitty’s side—
How low bows Merit at her glance,
  And Valour, true and tried!        20
Each hand that late the sword-hilt grasped
  Would fain her hand be pressing—
But, ah! fair Madge, who’ll wear your badge
  Is past all wooer’s guessing.
 
The Colonel bows his powdered head        25
  Well-nigh unto her feet;
Fame’s Trump rings dull unto his ears,
  That wait her Accents sweet.
The young Leftenant, Trig and Trim,
  Who lately won his spurs,        30
Casts love-sick glances in her way,
  And wins no glance of hers.
 
Before her bows the Admiral,
  Whose head was never bowed
Before the foamy-crested wave        35
  That wet the straining shroud.
And all his pretty midshipmen,
  They stand there in a line,
Saluting this Fair Craft that sails
  With no surrendering sign.        40
 
And so she trips across the floor
  On Lady Kitty’s arm,
And grizzled pates and frizzled pates
  All bow before her charm.
And she will dance the minuet,        45
  A-facing Lady Kitty,
Nor miss THE CHIEF—she hath, in brief,
  Her choice of all the city.
.    .    .    .    .    .    .
But in the minuet a hand
  Shall touch her finger-tips,        50
And almost to a Kiss shall turn
  The Smile upon her lips;
And he is but a midship boy,
  And she is Madge the Belle;
But never to Chief nor to Admiral        55
  Such a tale her lips shall tell.
.    .    .    .    .    .    .
The Town is at the Ball to-night,
  The Town is at the Ball,
And the Town shall talk as never before
  Ere another night shall fall;        60
And men shall rave in Rector street,
  And men shall swear in Pine,
And hearts shall break for Madge’s sake
  From Bay to City Line.
 
And Lady Kit shall wring her hands,        65
  And write the tale to tell
(To that much dreaded Maiden Aunt
  Who lives at New Rochelle)
All of a gallant Midshipman
  Who wooed in April weather        70
The Fairest of All at the Chieftain’s Ball—
  And they ran away together.
 
 
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