Airs of Haut-ton, At Home

This poem, written in the 1840s by Thomas Haynes Bayly, mocks the organiser of an “at home” (an informal gathering) who imagines it on the scale of a grand ball. He concludes by describing the music which mentions Collinet, the famous virtuoso of the French flageolet:

Invitations I will write,
All the world I will invite.
I will deign to show civility,
To the tip tops of gentility;
To the cream of the nobility,
I’m “at home” next Monday night.

See my footman, how he runs!
Ev’ry paltry street he shuns,
I’m “at home” to peers and peeresses,
Who reside in squares and terraces,
I’m “at home” to heirs and heiresses,
And, of course, to eldest sons.

I’m “at home” to all the set,
Of exclusives I have met.
If a rival open has her doors,
All the coronets shall pass her doors,
I’m “at home” to the Ambassadors,
Though their names I quite forgot.

I’m “at home” to guardsmen all,
Be they short, or be they tall;
I’m “at home” to men political,
Poetical and critical,
And the punning men of wit, I call
Acquisitions at a ball.

Oh! the matchless Collinet,
On his flageolet shall play;
How I love to hear the thrill of it !
Pasta’s song think what she will of it,
He will make a quick quadrille of it,
Dove sono,”-dance away.

-Thomas Haynes Bayly, c. 1840

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