Verse > Anthologies > Fuess and Stearns, eds. > The Little Book of Society Verse
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Fuess and Stearns, comps.  The Little Book of Society Verse.  1922.
 
Vanity Fair
By Frederick Locker-Lampson
 
“VANITAS vanitatum” has rung in the ears
Of gentle and simple for thousands of years;
The wail still is heard, yet its notes never scare
Either simple or gentle from Vanity Fair.
 
I often hear people abusing it, yet        5
There the young go to learn and the old to forget;
The mirth may be feigning, the sheen may be glare,
But the gingerbread’s gilded in Vanity Fair.
 
Old Dives there rolls in his chariot, but mind
Atra Cura is up with the lacqueys behind;        10
Joan trudges with Jack—are the Sweethearts aware
Of the trouble that waits them in Vanity Fair?
 
We saw them all go, and we something may learn
Of the harvest they reap when we see them return.
The tree was enticing; its branches are bare—        15
Heigho for the promise of Vanity Fair.
 
That stupid old Dives, once honest enough,
His honesty sold for star, ribbon, and stuff;
And Joan’s pretty face has been clouded with care
Since Jack bought her ribbons at Vanity Fair.        20
 
Contemptible Dives! Too credulous Joan!
Yet we all have a Vanity Fair of our own;
My son, you have yours, but you need not despair—
I own I ’ve a weakness for Vanity Fair.
 
Philosophy halts—wise counsels are vain,        25
We go, we repent, we return there again;
To-night you will certainly meet with us there—
So come and be merry in Vanity Fair.
 
 
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