A Visit to Ranelagh
A VISIT TO RANELAGH
To Ranelagh, once in my life,
By good-natur’d force I was driv’n;
The nations had ceas’d their long strife,
And Peace  beam’d her radiance from Heav’n.
What wonders were there to be found5
That a clown might enjoy or disdain?
First we trac’d the gay ring all around,
Aye—and then we went round it again.
A thousand feet rustled on mats,
A carpet that once had been green;10
Men bow’d with their outlandish hats,
With corners so fearfully keen!
Fair maids, who at home in their haste
Had left all clothing else but a train,
Swept the floor clean, as slowly they pac’d,15
And then—walk’d round and swept it again.
The music was truly enchanting!
Right glad was I when I came near it;
But in fashion I found I was wanting:—
’Twas the fashion to walk and not hear it!20
A fine youth, as beauty beset him,
Look’d smilingly round on the train;
‘The king’s nephew,’ they cried, as they met him;
Then—we went round and met him again.
Huge paintings of Heroes and Peace25
Seem’d to smile at the sound of the fiddle,
Proud to fill up each tall shining space
Round the lanthorn  that stood in the middle.
And George’s head too; Heav’n screen him!
May he finish in peace his long reign!30
And what did we when we had seen him?
Why—went round and saw him again.
A bell rang, announcing new pleasures,
A crowd in an instant prest hard,
Feathers nodded, perfumes shed their treasures,35
Round a door that led into the yard.
’Twas peopled all o’er in a minute,
As a white flock would cover a plain!
We had seen every soul that was in it,
Then we went round and saw them again.40
But now came a scene worth the showing,
The fireworks! midst laughs and huzzas,
With explosions the sky was all glowing,
Then down stream’d a million of stars;
With a rush the bright rockets ascended,45
Wheels spurted blue fires like a rain;
We turn’d with regret when ’twas ended,
Then—star’d at each other again.
There thousands of gay lamps aspir’d
To the tops of the trees and beyond; 50
And, what was most hugely admir’d,
They look’d all up-side-down in a pond!
The blaze scarce an eagle could bear;
And an owl had most surely been slain;
We return’d to the circle, and there—55
And there we went round it again.
’Tis not wisdom to love without reason,
Or to censure without knowing why:
I had witness’d no crime, nor no treason,
‘O Life, ’tis thy picture,’ said I. 60
’Tis just thus we saunter along,
Months and years bring their pleasures or pain;
We sigh midst the right and the wrong;
—And then we go round them again!