Oh how the world has alter'd since some fifty years ago,
When coats and shoes would really serve to keep out rain and snow;
But double soles and broadcloth,—oh, dear me! how very low
To talk of such old-fashion'd things, when every one must know
That we are well-bred gentlefolks all of the modern time!
We all meet now at midnight's hour, and form a glitt'ring throng,
Where lovely angels walk quadrilles, and ne'er do l'Eté wrong,
Where Eastern scents all fresh and sweet, from Rowland's, float along,
And the name of a good old country-dance would sound like a Chinese gong
In the ears of well-bred gentlefolks all of the modern time!
Young ladies now of sage sixteen must give their friends a rout,
And teach the cook and housemaid how to "hand the things about;"
And they must pull Ma's bedstead down, and hurry, scout, and flout,
To have a fine refreshment-room, and lay a supper out
Like well-bred, dashing gentlefolks all of the modern time!
And beardless boys, all brag and noise, must do "the thing that's right,"—
That is,—they'll drink champagne and punch, and keep it up all night;
They'll shout and swear, till, sallying forth at peep of morning's light,
They knock down some old woman just to show how well they fight,
Like brave young English gentlemen all of the modern time!
At the good old hours of twelve and one our grandsires used to dine,
And quaff their horns of nut-brown ale, and eat roast-beef and chine;
But we must have our silver forks, ragouts, and foreign wine,
And not sit down till five or six if we mean to cut a shine,
Like dashing, well-bred gentlefolks all of the modern time!
Our daughters now at ten years old must learn to squall and strum,
And study shakes and quavers under Signor Fee-fo-fum;
They'll play concertos, sing bravuras, rattle, scream, and thrum,
Till you almost wish that you were deaf, and they, poor things! were dumb;
But they must be like young gentlefolks all of the modern time!
Our sons must jabber Latin verbs, and talk of a Greek root,
Before they've left off pinafores, cakes, lollipops, and fruit;
They all have splendid talents that the desk and bar will suit,
Each darling boy would scorn to be "a low mechanic brute;"
They must be well-bred college youths all of the modern time!
But bills will come at Christmas-tide, alas, alack-a-day!
The creditors may call again, "Papa's not in the way;
"He's out of town; but, certainly, next week he'll call and pay;"
And then his name's in the Gazette! and this I mean to say
Oft winds up many gentlefolks all of the modern time!