"Now the Graces are four and the Venuses two,
And ten is the number of Muses;
For a Muse and a Grace and a Venus are you,--
My dear little Molly Trefusis!"
So he wrote, the old bard of an "old magazine:"
As a study it not without use is,
If we wonder a moment who she may have been,
This same "little Molly Trefusis!"
She was Cornish. We know that at once by the "Tre;"
Then of guessing it scarce an abuse is
If we say that where Bude bellows back to the sea
Was the birthplace of Molly Trefusis.
And she lived in the era of patches and bows,
Not knowing what rouge or ceruse is;
For they needed (I trust) but her natural rose,
The lilies of Molly Trefusis.
And I somehow connect her (I frankly admit
That the evidence hard to produce is)
With BATH in its hey-day of Fashion and Wit,--
This dangerous Molly Trefusis.
I fancy her, radiant in ribbon and knot,
(How charming that old-fashioned puce is!)
All blooming in laces, fal-lals and what not,
At the PUMP ROOM,--Miss Molly Trefusis.
I fancy her reigning,--a Beauty,--a Toast,
Where BLADUD'S medicinal cruse is;
And we know that at least of one Bard it could boast,--
The Court of Queen Molly Trefusis.
He says she was "VENUS." I doubt it. Beside,
(Your rhymer so hopelessly loose is!)
His "little" could scarce be to Venus applied,
If fitly to Molly Trefusis.
No, no. It was HEBE he had in his mind;
And fresh as the handmaid of Zeus is,
And rosy, and rounded, and dimpled,--you'll find,--
Was certainly Molly Trefusis!
Then he calls her "a MUSE." To the charge I reply
That we all of us know what a Muse is;
It is something too awful,--too acid,--too dry,--
For sunny-eyed Molly Trefusis.
But "a GRACE." There I grant he was probably right;
(The rest but a verse-making ruse is)
It was all that was graceful,--intangible,--light,
The beauty of Molly Trefusis!
Was she wooed? Who can hesitate much about that
Assuredly more than obtuse is;
For how could the poet have written so pat
"My dear little Molly Trefusis!"
And was wed? That I think we must plainly infer,
Since of suitors the common excuse is
To take to them Wives. So it happened to her,
Of course,--"little Molly Trefusis!"
To the Bard? 'Tis unlikely. Apollo, you see,
In practical matters a goose is;--
'Twas a knight of the shire, and a hunting J.P.,
Who carried off Molly Trefusis!
And you'll find, I conclude, in the "Gentleman's Mag.,"
At the end, where the pick of the news is,
"On the (blank), at 'the Bath,' to Sir Hilary Bragg,
With a Fortune, MISS MOLLY TREFUSIS."
Thereupon ... But no farther the student may pry:
Love's temple is dark as Eleusis;
So here, at the threshold, we part, you and I,
From "dear little Molly Trefusis."