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THE BALLAD OF BOUILLABAISSE.
A STREET there is in Paris famous,
For which no rhyme our language yields, Rue Neuve des Petits Champs its name is
The New Street of the Little Fields ;
But still in comfortable case ;
To eat a bowl of Bouillabaisse.
This Bouillabaisse a noble dish is
A sort of soup, or broth, or brew, Or hotchpotch of all sorts of fishes,
That Greenwich never could outdo; Green herbs, red peppers, muscles, saffern,
Soles, onions, garlic, roach, and dace ; All these you eat at TERRé's tavern,
In that one dish of Bouillabaisse.
Indeed, a rich and savoury stew 'tis ;
And true philosophers, methinks, Who love all sorts of natural beauties,
Should love good victuals and good drinks. And Cordelier or Benedictine
Might gladly, sure, his lot embrace,
I wonder if the house still there is ?
Yes, here the lamp is, as before ; The smiling, red-cheeked écaillère is
Still opening oysters at the door.
I recollect his droll grimace ;
And hoped you liked your Bouillabaisse.
We enter; nothing's changed or older.
“ How's Monsieur TERRÉ, waiter, pray?" The waiter stares and shrugs his shoulder ;
“ Monsieur is dead this many a day.” “ It is the lot of saint and sinner.
So honest TERRÉ's run his race ?" “ What will Monsieur require for dinner ?”
“ Say, do you still cook Bouillabaisse ?”
“Oh, oui, Monsieur,” 's the waiter's answer ;
“Quel vin Monsieur desire-t-il ?” “ Tell me a good one.” “ That I can, sir ;
The Chambertin with yellow seal.” “ So TERRE's gone,” I say, and sink in
My old accustomed corner-place ; “ He's done with feasting and with drinking,
With Burgundy and Bouillabaisse.”
My old accustomed corner here is,
The table still is in the nook ;
This well-known chair since last I took. When first I saw ye, Cari luoghi,
I'd scarce a beard upon my face, And now a grizzled, grim old fogy, I sit and wait for Bouillabaisse.
Where are you, old companions trusty
Of early days, here met to dine ? Come, waiter! quick, a flagon crusty
I'll pledge them in the good old wine.
My memory can quick retrace ;
And share the wine and Bouillabaisse.
There's Jack has made a wondrous marriage ;
There's laughing Tom is laughing yet ; There's brave Augustus drives his carriage ;
There's poor old FRED in the Gazette ; On James's head the grass is growing:
Good Lord! The world has wagged apace Since here we set the Claret flowing,
And drank, and ate the Bouillabaisse.
Ah me! how quick the days are fitting !
I mind me of a time that's gone,
In this same place—but not alone.
A dear, dear face looked fondly up,
_There's no one now to share my cup.
I drink it as the Fates ordain it.
Come, fill it, and have done with rhymes ; Fill up the lonely glass, and drain it
In memory of dear old times. Welcome the wine, whate'er the seal is ;
And sit you down and say your grace With thankful heart, whate'er the meal is.
- Here comes the smoking Bouillabaisse.
THE END OF THE PLAY.
The play is done; the curtain drops,
Slow falling to the prompter's bell: A moment yet the actor stops,
And looks around to say farewell. It is an irksome word and task;
And, when he's laughed and said his say, He shows, as he removes the mask,
A face that's any thing but gay.
One word, ere yet the evening ends,
Let's close it with a parting rhyme,
As fits the merry Christmas time.
That Fate ere long shall bid you play ;
A kindly greeting go alway!
Good-night!—I'd say, the griefs, the joys,
Just hinted in this mimic page,
Are but repeated in our age.
Your hopes more vain than those of men ; Your pangs or pleasures of fifteen
At forty-five played o'er again.
I'd say we suffer and we strive,
Not less nor more as men than boys ;
And if in time of sacred youth,
We learned at home to love and pray, Pray Heaven that early Love and Truth
May never wholly pass away.
And in the world, as in the school,
I'd say, how fate may change and shift;
The race not always to the swift.
The great man be a vulgar clown,
The kind cast pitilessly down.
Who knows the inscrutable design ?
Blessed be He who took and gave ! Why should your mother, Charles, not mine,
Be weeping at her darling's grave? We bow to Heaven that willed it so,
That darkly rules the fate of all, That sends the respite or the blow,
That's free to give or to recall.
This crowns his feast with wine and wit:
Who brought him to that mirth and state ? His betters, see, below him sit,
Or hunger hopeless at the gate.
To spurn the rags of Lazarus ?
Confessing Heaven that ruled it thus.
So each shall mourn, in life's advance,
Dear hopes, dear friends, untimely killed; Shall grieve for many a forfeit chance, And longing passion unfulfilled.