THE BELLE OF THE SEASON

Nay, do not bring me the jewels;
   Away with that robe of white:
I am sick of the ball-room, sister,
   I would rather stay here to-night.
"The grandest ball of the season?"
"The upper ten thousands' shout?"
Yes! yes! I know it, my darling,
But I do not care to go.

Last night I was thinking deeply,
   Something I seldom do;
You know I came home at midnight;
   Well, I lay awake till two.
I was thinking about my girlhood,
Just how I had spent its years,
And I blushed for shame, my darling,
And my pillow was wet with tears.

I have lived in a whirl of fashion,
   I have kept right up to the style,
I have learned how to dance the German,
   How to bow, and flirt, and smile.
I have worn most beautiful dresses,
   Been the belle of many a ball,
I have won the envy of women,
   And the praise of fops--that's all.

Does any one really respect me?
   Could a single thing be said
That would give the mourners pleasure,
   To-morrow, if I were dead?
"She wore such beautiful dresses,"
   "She'd a dozen strings to her bow,"
"She could waltz like a perfect fairy,"
   Would you like me remembered so?

Well, there's nothing else to remember.
   What thing have I ever done
That has made a soul the better
   Or cheered a hopeless one?
I have spent my time and money,
   The best of my fortune and days,
In gaining the envy of women,
   And making the poor fops gaze.

I am going to be a woman,
   And live for others, awhile,
Forgetting myself for a season,
   Though I know it isn't the style.
I am in no mood for the revel;
   Away with that robe of white,
And I will stay here my darling,
   And talk with my heart to-night.

Maurine by Ella Wheeler
Milwaukee: Cramer, Aikens & Cramer, 1876.


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