Archive for July 17th, 2020

Friday, 17 July 2020

Vanity Fair by Frederick Locker-Lampson

“Vanity of vanities, saith the preacher, all is vanity.” — Ecclesiastes.

“Vanitas Vanitatum” has rung in the ears
Of gentle and simple for thousands of years;
The wail is still heard, yet its notes never scare
Or simple, or gentle, from Vanity Fair.

This Fair has allurements alike to engage
The dimples of youth and the wrinkles of age;
Though mirth may be feigning, though sheen may be glare,
The gingerbread’s gilded in Vanity Fair.

Old Dives there rolls in his chariot of state,
There Jack takes his Joan at a lowlier rate,
St Giles’, St James’, from alley and square,
Send votaries plenty to Vanity Fair.

That goal would be vain where the guerdon was dross,
So come whence they may they must come by a loss:
The tree was enticing,—its branches are bare;
Heigh-ho! for the promise of Vanity Fair.

My son, the sham goddess I warn thee to shun,
Beware of the beautiful temptress, my son;
Her blandishments fly,—or, despising the snare,
Go laugh at the follies of Vanity Fair.

That stupid old Dives, once honest enough,
His honesty sold for Stars, Ribbons, and Stuff;
And Joan’s pretty face has been clouded with care
Since Jack bought her ribbons at Vanity Fair.

Contemptible Dives!—too credulous Joan!
Yet each has a Vanity Fair of his own;—
My son, you have yours, but you need not despair,
Myself, I’ve a weakness for Vanity Fair.

Philosophy halts, wisest counsels are vain,—
We go, we repent, we return there again;
To-night you will certainly meet with us there,
Exceedingly merry at Vanity Fair.

From: Locker, Frederick, London Lyrics, 1904, Methuen & Co: London, pp. 48-50.
(https://www.gutenberg.org/files/30185/30185-h/30185-h.htm)

Date: 1857

By: Frederick Locker-Lampson (1821-1895)