Composed for Nick Sellars, who I called “Mrs” Crit because he was, in the days when this was written, married to Crit, and since Crit is titleless it followed that Nick must be the wife, in proper Jane Austen style.
My knowledge of decorum tells me this:
Respectability is paramount!
Solemnity and sobre steadyness:
No qualities compared to these ones count!
If man would gain approval of his peers,
Consideration must be fully paid;
Know this, ye flighty frivols, that your fears
So chill are true! The stern game must be played!
Ebullient cheer’s a sin! Enjoyment’s wrong!
Loud laughter looks all rude, so cut it out!
Let all your breath vent moans of angst, not song;
And never smile or grin, but only pout.
Regardless of the rules, one man remains
So cheerful as to laugh away life’s pains!