Dear Alice

Sir Henry Taylor

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Dear Alice, through much mockery of yours
(Impatient of my labours long and slow
And small results that I made haste to show
From time to time), you scornfullest of reviewers,
These verses work'd their way: "Get on, get on,"
Was mostly my encouragement: But I
Dead to all spurring kept my pace foregone
And long had learnt all laughter to defy.
I thought, moreover, that your laugh (for hard
Would be the portion of the hapless Bard
Who found not in each comment, grave or gay,
Some flattering unction) . . . In your laugh, I say,
A subtle something glimmer'd; 'twas a laugh,
If half of mockery, yet of pleasure half.
And since, on looking round, I know not who
Will greet my offering with as good a grace
And in their favour give it half a place,
These flights, for fault of better, short and few,
Dear Alice, I must dedicate to you.

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