Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, A SOCIETY MARTYR, by JOHN CLINTON ANTHONY



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A SOCIETY MARTYR, by            
First Line: Rustling billows of silk 'neath the foam of old lace
Last Line: With such artful devices at afternoon teas?
Subject(s): Love


RUSTLING billows of silk 'neath the foam of
old lace,
A half-languid smile upon each listless face, --
A dreaming of roses and rose-leaf shades, --
A medley of modern and Grecian maids.
Such clatter and clink
One scarcely can think
Till he spies a shy nook where he lonely can sink, --
For how can a bachelor be at his ease
With such chatter and gossip at afternoon teas?

Fair Phyllis's gold lashes demurely cast down,
Her face in sweet doubt 'twixt a smile and a frown, --
A venturesome rosebud o'ertopping the rest
Now lies all a-quiver upon her white breast,
The curves of her neck
Man's vow often wreck, --
She has the whole world at her call and her beck.
So how can a bachelor be at his ease
With such variant emotions at afternoon teas?

Behind sheltering palms, safe from gossips' sharp gaze,
Is acted in mime one of life's dearest plays, --
Sweet Bessie's brown eyes raised beseechingly up,
Her lips just released from the kiss of her cup,
And Fred, I much fear,
From small sounds that I hear,
Is as bold as the rim of her cup, -- and as near, --
And how can a bachelor be at his ease
With such sights and such sounds at our afternoon teas?

Shrewd maters watch Phyllis and Bessie and Fred, --
Each smile and each look and each toss of the head, --
And wonder and ponder and figure and scheme,
While fortune and fashion 'gainst love tip the beam.
For Bessie's dark locks
And Phyllis's smart frocks
Are but snares to entrap the society fox.
Pray, how can a bachelor be at his ease
With such artful devices at afternoon teas?





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