Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, PRESIDENTIAL COTILLION, by JOHN GARDINER CALKINS BRAINARD



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PRESIDENTIAL COTILLION, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Caste garden was splendid one night - though the wet
Last Line: And it rung to the music of liberty's march.
Subject(s): Lafayette, Marie Joseph, Marquis De; Presidents, United States


CASTLE GARDEN was splendid one night-- though the wet
Put off for some evenings the ball for FAYETTE.
The arrangements were rich, the occasion was pat,
And the whole was in style; -- but I sing not of that.
Ye Graces, attend to a poet's condition,
And bring your right heels to the second position;
I sing of a dance, such as never was seen
On fairy-tripped meadow, or muse-haunted green.
The length of the room, and the height of the hall,
The price of the tickets, the cost of the ball,
And the sums due for dresses, I'm glad to forget--
I'd rather pay off the whole national debt.
The fiddlers were Editors, ranged on the spot,
There were strings that were rosined, and strings that were not;
Who furnished the instruments I do not know,
But each of the band drew a very long bow.
They screwed up their pegs, and they shouldered their fiddles;
They fingered the notes of their hey-diddle-diddles;
Spectators looked on -- they were many a million,
To see the performers in this great cotillion.
One Adams first led Miss Diplomacy out,
And Crawford Miss Money -- an heiress no doubt;
And Jackson Miss Dangerous, a tragical actor,
And Clay, Madam Tariff, of home manufacture.
There was room for a set just below, and each buck
Had a belle by his side, like a drake with his duck;
But the first set attracted the whole room's attention,
For they cut the capers most worthy of mention.
They bowed and they courtesied, round went all eight,
Right foot was the word, and chasse was the gait;
Then they balanced to partners, and turned them about,
And each one, alternate, was in and was out.
Some kicked and some floundered, some set and some bounded,
'Till the music was drowned --the figure confounded;
Some danced dos a dos, and some danced contreface,
And some promenaded -- and all lost their place.
In the midst of this great pantomimic ballete,
What guest should arrive but the great LA FAYETTE!
The dancers all bowed, and the fiddlers changed tune,
Like Apollo's banjo to the man in the moon.
How sweet were the notes, and how bold was the strain!
O, when shall we list to such concord again?
The hall was sky-covered with Freedom's bright arch,
And it rung to the music of Liberty's march.







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