Soliloquy of a Maiden Aunt

Original Text: 
Dollie Radford, A Light Load (London: Elkin Matthews, 1891): 58-60. NCM 1891 New York Public Library
1The ladies bow, and partners set,
2And turn around and pirouette
4But no one seeks my ample chair,
5Or asks me with persuasive air
6     To join the dancers.
7They greet me, as I sit alone
8Upon my solitary throne,
9     And pass politely.
10Yet mine could keep the measured beat,
11As surely as the youngest feet,
12     And tread as lightly.
13No other maiden had my skill
14In our old homestead on the hill --
15     That merry May-time
16When Allan closed the flagging ball,
17And danced with me before them all,
18     Until the day-time.
19Again I laugh, and step alone,
20And curtsey low as on my own
21     His strong hand closes.
22But Allan now seeks staid delight,
23His son there, brought my niece to-night
24     These early roses.
25Time orders well, we have our Spring,
26Our songs, and may-flower gathering,
27     Our love and laughter.
28And children chatter all the while,
29And leap the brook and climb the stile
30     And follow after.
31And yet -- the step of Allan's son,
32Is not as light as was the one
33     That went before it.
34And that old lace, I think, falls down
35Less softly on Priscella's gown
36     Than when I wore it.

Notes

3] the Lancers: a quadrille (OED "lancer" 2, 2), a Victorian square dance for four couples. Back to Line
Publication Start Year: 
1891
RPO poem Editors: 
Ian Lancashire
RPO Edition: 
2003