Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE BALL, 1789, by HENRY CUYLER BUNNER



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THE BALL, 1789, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: The town is at the ball to-night
Last Line: And they ran away together.
Subject(s): Balls; Conventions; New York City; Assemblies; Meetings; Manhattan; New York, New York; The Big Apple


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
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,
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—
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!
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
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,
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
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.

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,
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,
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
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;
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,
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
The Fairest of All at the Chieftain's Ball—
And they ran away together.





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