The Talented Man
by Winthrop Mackworth Praed (1802-1839)
Dear Alice! you’ll laugh when you know it,—
Last week, at the Duchess’s ball,
I danced with the clever new poet,—
You’ve heard of him,—Tully St. Paul.
Miss Jonquil was perfectly frantic;
I wish you had seen Lady Anne!
It really was very romantic,
He is such a talanted man!
He came up from Brazenose College,
Just caught, as they call it, this spring;
And his head, love, is stuffed full of knowledge
Of every conceivable thing.
Of science and logic he chatters,
As fine and as fast as he can;
Though I am no judge of such matters,
I’m sure he’s a talented man.
His stories and jests are delightful;—
Not stories or jests, dear, for you;
The jests are exceedingly spiteful,
The stories not always quite true.
Perhaps to be kind and veracious
May do pretty well at Lausanne;
But it never would answer,—good gracious!
Chez nous—in a talented man.
He sneers,—how my Alice would scold him! —
At the bliss of a sigh or a tear;
He laughed—only think!—when I told him
How we cried o’er Trevelyan last year;
I vow I was quite in a passion;
I broke all the sticks of my fan;
But sentiment’s quite out of fashion,
It seems, in a talented man.
Lady Bab, who is terribly moral,
Has told me that Tully is vain,
And apt—which is silly—to quarrel,
And fond—which is sad—of champagne.
I listened, and doubted, dear Alice,
For I saw, when my Lady began,
It was only the Dowager’s malice;—
She does hate a talented man!
He’s hideous, I own it. But fame, love,
Is all that these eyes can adore;
He’s lame,—but Lord Byron was lame, love,
And dumpy,—but so is Tom Moore.
Then his voice,—such a voice! my sweet creature,
It’s like your Aunt Lucy’s toucan:
But oh! what’s a tone or a feature,
When once one’s a talented man?
My mother, you know, all the season,
Has talked of Sir Geoffrey’s estate;
And truly, to do the fool reason,
He has been less horrid of late.
But today, when we drive in the carriage,
I’ll tell her to lay down her plan;—
If ever I venture on marriage,
It must be a talented man!
P.S.—I have found, on reflection,
One fault in my friend,—entre nous;
Without it, he’d just be perfection;—
Poor fellow, he has not a sou!
And so, when he comes in September
To shoot with my uncle, Sir Dan,
I’ve promised mamma to remember
He’s only a talented man!