Yes, here it is, behind the box,
That puzzle wrought so neatly--
That paradise of paradox--
We once knew so completely;
You see it? 'Tis the same, I swear,
Which stood, that chill September,
Beside your aunt Lavinia's chair
The year when ... You remember?
Look, Laura, look! You must recall
This florid "Fairy's Bower,"
This wonderful Swiss waterfall,
And this old "Leaning Tower;"
And here's the "Maiden of Cashmere,"
And here is Bewick's "Starling,"
And here the dandy cuirassier
You thought was "such a Darling!"
Your poor dear Aunt! you know her way,
She used to say this figure
Reminded her of Count D'Orsay
"In all his youthful vigour;"
And here's the "cot beside the hill"
We chose for habitation,
The day that ... But I doubt if still
You'd like the situation!
Too damp--by far! She little knew,
Your guileless Aunt Lavinia,
Those evenings when she slumbered through
"The Prince of Abyssinia,"
That there were two beside her chair
Who both had quite decided
To see things in a rosier air
Than Rasselas provided!
Ah! men wore stocks in Britain's land,
And maids short waists and tippets,
When this old-fashioned screen was planned
From hoarded scraps and snippets;
But more--far more, I think--to me
Than those who first designed it,
Is this--in Eighteen Seventy-Three
I kissed you first behind it.