A Wall Flower

Amy Levy (1861-1889)

I lounge in the doorway and languish in vain
While Tom, Dick and Harry are dancing with Jane

My spirit rises to the music’s beat;
There is a leaden fiend lurks in my feet!
To move unto your motion, Love, were sweet.

Somewhere, I think, some other where, not here,
In other ages, on another sphere,
I danced with you, and you with me, my dear.

In perfect motion did our bodies sway,
To perfect music that was heard alway;
Woe's me, that am so dull of foot to-day!

To move unto your motion, Love, were sweet;
My spirit rises to the music’s beat--
But, ah, the leaden demon in my feet!

from Breaking Open
Muriel Rukeyser (1913-1980)

A dream remembered only in other dreams.
The voice saying:
All you dreaded as a child
Came to pass in storms of light;
All you dreaded as a girl
Falls and falls in avalanche—
Dread and the dream of love will make
All that time and men may build,
All that women dance and make.
They become you.         Your own face
Dances through the night and day,
Leading your body into this
Body-led dance, its mysteries.
Answer me.         Dance my dance.

The Baby's Dance
Ann Taylor (1782–1866)

Dance little baby, dance up high,
Never mind baby, mother is by ;
Crow and caper, caper and crow,
There little baby, there you go ;
Up to the ceiling, down to the ground,
Backwards and forwards, round and round ;
Dance little baby, and mother shall sing,
With the merry coral, ding, ding, ding.

Farewell to Bath
Lady Mary Wortley Montagu (1689–1762)

To all you ladies now at Bath,
       And eke, ye beaux, to you,
With aching heart, and wat’ry eyes,
       I bid my last adieu.

Farewell ye nymphs, who waters sip
       Hot reeking from the pumps,
While music lends her friendly aid,
       To cheer you from the dumps.

Farewell ye wits, who prating stand,
       And criticise the fair;
Yourselves the joke of men of sense,
       Who hate a coxcomb's air.

Farewell to Deard's, and all her toys,
       Which glitter in her shop,
Deluding traps to girls and boys,
       The warehouse of the fop.

Lindsay’s and Hayes’s both farewell,
       Where in the spacious hall,
With bounding steps, and sprightly air,
       I've led up many a ball.

Where Somerville of courteous mien,
       Was partner in the dance,
With swimming Haws, and Brownlow blithe,
       And Britton pink of France.

Poor Nash, farewell! may fortune smile,
       Thy drooping soul revive,
My heart is full I can no more—
       John, bid the coachman drive.