Spoken by Mr Impey at a masquerade, in the character of Mr Coutts. One side was entirely clad in white, the other in black. One half of the mask was weeping, the other laughing.
A tender bridegroom, and a widower true,
I came prepared to whimper, and to woo.
Conflicting passions at eternal strife,
Twixt a mew married, and a new buried wife.
Ladies you pardon if in vain I try,
Struggling between a simper and a sigh.
’Tis hard to hit all fancies to a tittle,
Some say I court too much, or cry too little.
And yet in me nor grief, nor joy exceeds,
Half clad in nuptial, half in funeral weeds.
A batch of billet doux this packet fills,
Escutcheons that, and undertaker’s bills.
Relics and toys for either charmer’s sake,
White favours, mourning rings, and wedding cake.
Here grins a skull, here bridal diamonds blaze
A bust from Nolleken’s, a broach from Gray’s
Here bills from Highgate, Covent Garden here
Who would have thought that melons were so dear!
But these are mere exterior mirth and woe,
“I have that within me, which surpasseth show.”
Outward and inward man, ’twixt cares and joys,
I vibrate held in perfect equipoise.
My very limbs in just bisection cleft,
The right all frolic, all forlorn the left.
My best leg foremost, speeds the nuptial race,
Its gouty brother keeps a funeral pace.
Take then which side you will, if neither suit,
I have pleas’d myself however, coute qui coute.