At a Fashionable Dinner

         We sat with the banqueting-party
By the table-end—
Unmarked,—no diners out
Were we: scarce a friend
Of our own mind's trend
Was there, though the welcome was hearty.
Then we noticed a shade extend
By a distant screen,
And I said: "What to you does it seem to mean,

"—It is like my own body lying
Beyond the door
Where the servants glide in and about
The carpeted floor;
And it means my death hour!—"
"—What a fancy! Who feels like dying
While these smart sallies pour,
With laughter between!
To me it is more like satin sheen,

"—That means your new bride, when you win her:
Yes, so it must be!
It's her satin dress, no doubt—
That shine you see—
My own corpse to me!"
And a gloom came over the dinner,
Where almost strangers were we,
As the spirit of the scene
Forsook her—the fairest of the whole thirteen—

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