The Minuet

(1879) by Mary Mapes Dodge

Grandma told me all about it, Told me so I couldn’t doubt it, How she danced—my Grandma danced!— Long ago How she held her pretty head, How her dainty skirt she spread, Turning out her little toes; How she slowly leaned and rose— Long ago. Grandma’s hair was bright and sunny; Dimpled cheeks, too—ah, how funny! Really quite a pretty girl, Long ago. Bless her! why, she wears a cap, Grandma does, and takes a nap Every single day; and yet Grandma danced the minuet Long ago. Now she sits there, rocking, rocking, Always knitting Grandpa’s stocking— (Every girl was taught to knit Long ago.) Yet her figure is so neat, And her ways so staid and sweet, I can almost see her now Bending to her partner’s bow, Long ago. Grandma says our modern jumping, Hopping, rushing, whirling, bumping, Would have shocked the gentle folk Long ago. No—they moved with stately grace, Everything in proper place, Gliding slowly forward, then Slowly courtseying back again, Long ago. Modern ways are quite alarming, Grandma says; but boys were charming— Girls and boys, I mean, of course— Long ago. Brave but modest, grandly shy,— She would like to have us try Just to feel like those who met In the graceful minuet Long ago. Were the minuet in fashion, Who could fly into a passion? All would wear the calm they wore Long ago. In time to come, if I, perchance, Should tell my grandchild of our dance, I should really like to say: “We did it, dear, in some such way, Long ago.”