Yes — soft heaved the Vessel, and smooth curled the wave,
When the foreign shores peeped from the mist;
And light blew the zephyr — and still as the grave
Was the sail, which the rosy dawn kiss’d.
And fair rose the prospect, as Dieppe drew nigh
In her portly antiquity drest;
With her green glowing landscape, and deep azure sky,
And her children deck’d strange in their best.
And rich looked the country, and wide stretch’d the road,
And most ample the cheer on the way,
The twice-roasted fowl was of no sturdy brood,
And the omelette was fried the same day.
And what if the rain on the chaise beat at last,
If the rain did not drip much within?
And what if, at times, horse and rider stuck fast,
If nor rider nor horse cared a pin?
Did not old Ducal Rouen look proud from her hill,
And the merry bridges dance on her Seine?
While her crowded quays teemed with mirth, frolic, and skill,
And a little world’s gambol’s for gain.
And what tho’ the Wolf be a rarity here?
That the race is extinct, does not follow.
The flow’r of the City, and Chivalry there,
Was un Loup, in the form of Apollo.
And brilliant was Paris — elastic her clime —
And enchanting each scene as it rose —
And the hotbeds of pleasure force quick to their prime,
And the fruit pines away, as it grows.
And Brussels, and Mechlin, and Antwerp, fair were
And their Gothic piles peaceful to view;
And comic the Gala to make Mynheer stare,
And most dear, the now calm, Waterloo.
And what to each scene gave so finished a gest
As can make recollections so sweet?
These eyes had beheld, and this foot the soil press’d
In which pleasure and courtesy meet.
’Tis a Secret to none — least to you, my sweet Maid,
Or Vitruvius who, our third did make
The roving I lov’d — but the rovers still more —
And the travels are for their sake.
Then now let us sing — May God bless the old King
And God bless my fair, kind, Valentine —
May the plumag’d woods ring, and the rural nymphs bring
A young Laurel to bind on her Shrine.
Feby 14, 1817