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seeds of idleness took root, and, for want of tillage, quickly over-ran it, as gardens are known to luxuriate weeds, (in the place of flowers,) through the want of due care and cultivation.
Being therefore wholly sans emploi, I was soon driven upon those Goodwin-sands of society-INTRIGUE, (where many a desæuvré has been wrecked before me,) and I had no choice or alternative but to establish une liaison litteraire, which (blushing at the admission) I accordingly entered into, with a Mademoiselle Erato, sixth daughter of one Jupiter, (who married into the Mnemosyne family,) and“ by her had issue,” (as Mr. Debrett says,) the rosy bantling which the reader, at the present moment, does me the high honour of being dry-nurse to. He is said to be the very type of his mamma, who (when enceinte) had une malacie for the popularity of her offspring, and (as the Author of his being) I am free to confess, that I sincerely hope the maternal penchant may be indulgently gratified.
She is, moreover, again in that interesting situation, “ in which ladies wish to be who love their lords,” but should her firstling not be taken cherishingly by the hand, I have a sort of painful presentiment that the little innocent will be mort-né, and so exceedingly sensitive do I feel upon the occasion, that I cannot bring myself to look upon her fausse-couche, in any other view than as a downright miscarriage of my own.
I am a ready disciple of the doctrine which teaches, that _" nothing but what arises from the heart goes to the heart, and the verse which never quickened a pulse in the bosom of the Poet, never awakened a throb in that of his reader.” So wrote-(I forget who)-and so, from the very core of my heart, think I.
with the gentle Bard of the Leasowes some were written on occasions a good deal imaginary, others not so; and the only reason there are so many is, that I was anxious (if possible) write one good song, and could never please myself.”
It may peradventure be matter of objection to those who profess the cold creed of misogyny, or to the capricciose of le beau sexe, that I have embalmed, as it were, nearly the whole of the trifles in “ The Poetic Negligée” with the frankincense of WOMAN's name; but to so welcome a charge, eagerly do I plead “ Guilty,” since therein consists the only odour they have to boast of, and such as are without it, resemble, in my mind, the scentless rose, or the valueless shell divested of its precious pearl.
In offering “ The Poetic Negligée " to the acceptance of the public, I take permission to remark, that some of the loose beads have been already submitted to inspection in different journals and periodicals, and it is principally (I am proud and happy to say) in obedience to the “ soft command” of many of Eve's loveliest daughters, that I have now ven. tured (most humbly) to collect and string them together. At first, I had some very serious thoughts of empanelling
special jury ” of old maids, and of submitting to them my work in sheets ; in order that any of the pieces which they (dear sensitive souls) should consider trop fleuri, might have the benefit of their moral expurgation; but fearing, should I risk the experiment, that my verecund censors would leave me nothing but my title-page to go to press with, I resolved upon the desperate hazard of being my own licenser, and of publishing my brunettes without the emendation of either saint or sinner.
Though denying to my Ms. the excerption of others, I have by no means been parsimonious of it myself, and all those morceaux which rose above “ fever heat," (by the
poetic thermometer,) I have sent to refrigerate in my portfeuille ; so that what now sees the light, may, I dare swear, be innocuously read by any fille suranné in Christendom, ay, and what is more, got by heart (if, by the bye, an old maid has a heart*) the last thing she does on going to her bed of
Moroever—as a contingent lenitive to her bashful qualms, I have considerately introduced a fancy paper, (of that most inte. resting of all colours, the “ maiden's blush,") in order that if she thinks she feels her cheek a little sunnier than usual, she may quiet any obtrusive scruples with the qualifying salvo, that it is merely the reflection of the warm tint of the leaves ; and thus happily for both our reputations, the pages of “ The Poetic Negligée" will seem-couleur de rose.
Should, however, any ultra-prude (and the bare thought of one gives me a flesh-quake) feel it to be a case of conscience not to“ tell her beads” by my rosary, then all I can do for either of us, is to prescribe an extra cup of camphor tea, and to have neatly embroidered on our chaste garters
Honi soit qui mal y pense."
* See note in Appendix, p. 207.
“ For single blessedness, at best,
Like toujours perdrix grows a pest." | Being the proper“ garter" motto.