Poetry Explorer

Classic and Contemporary Poetry

THE BEST OF THE BALL, by                    
First Line: At last! O, sensation delicious!
Last Line: For ours is the best of the ball.
Subject(s): Dancing & Dancers; Man-woman Relationships; Talk; Male-female Relations

AT last! O, sensation delicious!
At last, it is here, it is here!
That moment supremely auspicious
In the jolliest ball of the year.

It is all as I dreamt it would happen—
The rooms grown oppressive with heat,
And my darling, alarm'd with the crowding,
Suggesting a timely retreat.

"Not there; not among the exotics;
I faint with that fragrance of theirs.
Let us go—it will be so refreshing—
And find out a seat on the stairs."

How dear are the lips that could utter
Such exquisite music as this!
How I listen'd, my heart all a-flutter,
Assenting, transported with bliss!

All the house with the dancers is throbbing,
The music seems born of the air:
O, joy of all joy the extremest,
To sit, as I sit, on a stair!

To sit, and to gaze on my darling,
Enraptured in thrilling delight,
As I think, "Never face could be fairer,
Nor eyes half so tenderly bright."

It is all as I knew it would happen,
Yet, no; there is something I miss—
The eloquent words I intended
To speak in a moment like this.

They were tender, and soft, and poetic,
And I thought, "As I timidly speak,
She will smile, and a blush sympathetic
Will crimson the rose in her cheek."

And now that we sit here together,
I only—do all that I can—
Converse on the ball and the weather,
While she opens and closes her fan.

What I thought to have said seems audacious,
Her ear it would surely offend;
She would turn from me, no longer gracious,
And frown my delight to an end.

Far better to talk of the weather,
Or ponder in rapture supreme:
'Tis so joyous to sit here together,
So pleasant to wake and to dream!

Contented, long hours we could measure,
Forgetting, forgotten by all;
Nor envy the dancers their pleasure
For ours is the best of the ball.

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