Lewis Carroll: Atalanta in Camden-Town

Atalanta in Camden-Town

Ay, ’twas here, on this spot, In that summer of yore, Atalanta did not Vote my presence a bore, Nor reply to my tenderest talk “She had heard all that nonsense before.”
She’d the brooch I had bought And the necklace and sash on, And her heart, as I thought, Was alive to my passion; And she’d done up her hair in the style that the Empress had brought into fashion.
I had been to the play With my pearl of a Peri— But, for all I could say, She declared she was weary, That “the place was so crowded and hot, and she couldn’t abide that Dundreary.”
Then I thought “Lucky boy! ’Tis for you that she whimpers!” And I noted with joy Those sensational simpers: And I said “This is scrumptious!”—a phrase I had learned from the Devonshire shrimpers.
And I vowed “’Twill be said I’m a fortunate fellow, When the breakfast is spread, When the topers are mellow, When the foam of the bride-cake is white, and the fierce orange-blossoms are yellow!”
O that languishing yawn! O those eloquent eyes! I was drunk with the dawn Of a splendid surmise— I was stung by a look, I was slain by a tear, by a tempest of sighs.
Then I whispered “I see The sweet secret thou keepest. And the yearning for ME That thou wistfully weepest! And the question is ‘License or Banns?’, though undoubtedly Banns are the cheapest.”
“Be my Hero,” said I, “And let me be Leander!” But I lost her reply— Something ending with “gander”— For the omnibus rattled so loud that no mortal could quite understand her.