THE SALON ON THE RUE GALANTIÈRE
"Your Denmark sends us the tallest cavaliers
And with the most beautiful mustachios
And fairest skin, whom even an old woman
Must here confess to adore."
“Ah no, my Countess,"
I bowed and smiled. "Old woman? Such you will find
In the Hyrcanian forest of aurochs and wolf
That we call Europe, that crouches out there barbarously,
Northward and southward, east and west, at the borders
Of sunlit France, whose Christian king's unique
That by some national miracle of wit
He has no old women in his domains,
But only such as gaining grace and youth
In girlhood, at last become them wholly,
Such as the one who here to this lonely emissary
From far-off Denmark through kindness renders honor."
She saw my fright at my unwonted speech
And said gaily: "Why, Lord Horatio,
Are you sure you're not a Parisian cavalier
Disguised as a Northman? But no, our local poppets
Have no such eloquence, are empty as pasteboard.
Well, have it so. And say, out of my youth—
Or, if you will, the silly, pretty days
Before my present youth—there comes to me
Still a tall boy bright from your cool north,
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