A tripping footfall on the stair1
A vision from ‘ Le Follet ’—2
A sudden fragrance in the air3
Ye gods ! can this be Molly ?4
This ‘ symphony ’ in silver white,5
Perchance some star—off duty6
Come down to set us mortals right7
Upon ideas of beauty.8
Or snow-flake that has lost its way9
Its path in life mistaken10
Some dream that flies at break of day,11
And leaves us loath to waken.12
The Molly that I knew of yore,13
Was but a chit of seven,14
In sandalled shoes and pinafore15
While I was just eleven.16
A pair of youthful lovers we17
In days of childish folly,18
Ere Time had stole a march on me,19
And carried off my Molly.20
Relentless parents ’ came between.21
Behold Miss Mary Seaton22
Consigned to boarding-school routine23
And me—a fag at Eton.24
Ah, Molly, I shall ne’er forget25
The day on which we parted ;26
I think you cried, you small coquette ;27
But I was broken-hearted.28
A Niobe in garments brief,29
Your tears were quite in season ;30
But then your doll had come to grief31
An all-sufficing reason.32
I still preserve with tender care33
Your Prayer-book—frayed with kissing34
A relic much the worse for wear,35
With half the pages missing.36
Have you the many-bladed knife37
I gave you once ?— I wonder.38
The most unlucky gift in life ;39
It cleft our paths asunder.40
My sweetheart of the Past is dead41
That mourned her broken ‘ Dolly ; ’42
And now I turn to greet instead43
This most imposing Molly.44
Observe—A dress of filmy lace45
Beyond my powers of painting46
A tiny vinaigrette—in case47
The maid should think of fainting.48
A dainty cap (I think I’m right)49
The golden head surmounting50
A pair of gloves whose buttons quite51
Defy attempts at counting.52
A satin fan where baby-loves53
That seem to weary never,54
Disport themselves in myrtle groves55
That blossom on for ever.56
A gleam of gems whose elfin light57
In weird and fitful flashes58
Reflects the eyes—demurely bright59
Beneath their shady lashes. ...60


And did you not forget ? ’ she says.—61
Forget you, Molly, never !62
The love of Eton jacket days63
Is just as green as ever.’—64
You silly boy ’ — ‘ As silly still,65
Ah, Molly, do not doubt it.’—66
My glove has come unbuttoned, Will.67
.... How long you are about it ! ’68