Around my vine-wreathed portico,
At evening, there's a perfect glow
Of little lights a-flashing -
As if the stellar bodies had
From super-heat grown hyper-mad,
And spend their ire in clashing.
As frisky each as shooting star,
These tiny electricians are
The Lampyrine Linnæan -
Or lightning-bugs, that sparkling gleam
Like scintillations in a dream
Of something empyrean.
They brush my face, light up my hair,
My garments touch, dart everywhere;
And if I try to catch them
They're quicker than the wicked flea -
And then I wonder how 'twould be
To have a dress to match them.
To be a "princess in disguise,"
And wear a robe of fireflies
All strung and wove together,
And be the cynosure of all
At Madame Haut-ton's carnival,
In fashion's gayest feather.
So, sudden, falls upon the grass
The overpow'ring light of gas,
And through the lattice streaming;
As wearily I close my eyes
Brief are the moments that suffice
To reach the land of dreaming.
Now at the ball, superbly dressed
As I suppose, to eclipse the rest,
Within an alcove shady
A brilliant flame I hope to be,
While all admire and envy me,
The "bright electric lady."
But, ah, they never shine at all!
My eyes ignite - I leave the hall,
For wrathful tears have filled them;
I could have crushed them on the spot -
The bugs, I mean! - and quite forgot
That stringing them had killed them.