University of Virginia Library


Touching the Grand Canal's depletion
If Veronese did but feign,
Grave frolic of a gay Venetian
Masking in Jeremy his vein;
Believe, that others too may gambol
In syllables as light—yea, ramble
All over each esthetic park,
Playing, as on the violin,
One random theme our dames to win—
The picturesque in Men of Mark.
Nor here some lateral points they shun,
And pirouette on this, for one:


That rumored Age, whose scouts advance,
Musters it one chivalric lance?
Or shall it foster or abate
Qualities picturesquely great?
There's Garibaldi, off-hand hero,
A very Cid Campeadór,
Lion-Nemesis of Naples' Nero—
But, tut, why tell that story o'er!
A natural knight-errant, truly,
Nor priding him in parrying fence,
But charging at the helm-piece—hence
By statesmen deemed a lord unruly.
Well now, in days the gods decree,
Toward which the levellers scything move
(The Sibyl's page consult, and see)
Could this our Cid a hero prove?
What meet emprise? What plumed career?
No challenges from crimes flagitious
When all is uniform in cheer;
For Tarquins—none would be extant,
Or, if they were, would hardly daunt,
Ferruling brats, like Dionysius;
And Mulciber's sultans, overawed,
In dumps and mumps, how far from menace,
Tippling some claret about deal board
Like Voltaire's kings at inn in Venice.
In fine, the dragons penned or slain,
What for St. George would then remain!
A don of rich erratic tone,
By jaunty junior club-men known


As one, who buckram in demur,
Applies then the Johnsonian Sir;
'Twas he that rollicked thus of late
Filliped by turn of chance debate.
Repeat he did, or vary more
The same conceit, in devious way
Of grandees with dyed whiskers hoar
Tho' virile yet: “Assume, and say
The Red Shirt Champion's natal day
Is yet to fall in promised time,
Millennium of the busy bee;
How would he fare in such a Prime?
By Jove, sir, not so bravely, see!
Never he'd quit his trading trips,
Perchance, would fag in trade at desk,
Or, slopped in slimy slippery sludge,
Lifelong on Staten Island drudge,
Melting his tallow, Sir, dipping his dips,
Scarce savoring much of the Picturesque!”
“Pardon,” here purled a cultured wight
Lucid with transcendental light;
“Pardon, but tallow none nor trade
When, thro' this Iron Age's reign
The Golden one comes in again;
That's on the card.”
“She plays the spade!
Delving days, Sir, heave in sight—
Digging days, Sir; and, sweet youth,
They'll set on edge the sugary tooth:
A treadmill—Paradise they plight.”


Let be, and curb this rhyming race!—
Angel o' the Age! advance, God speed.
Harvest us all good grain in seed;
But sprinkle, do, some drops of grace
Nor polish us into commonplace.