The Minuet by Mary Mapes Dodge

Grandma told me all about it,
Told me so I could not doubt it,
How she danced, my grandma danced, long ago!
How she held her pretty head,
How her dainty skirts she spread,
How she turned her little toes,
Smiling little human rose!

Grandma’s hair was bright and shining,
Dimpled cheeks, too! ah! how funny!
Bless me, now she wears a cap,
My grandma does, and takes a nap every single day;
Yet she danced the minuet long ago;
Now she sits there rocking, rocking,
Always knitting grandpa’s stocking—
Every girl was taught to knit long ago—
But 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,
Rushing, whirling, dashing, bumping,
Would have shocked the gentle people long ago.
No, they moved with stately grace,
Everything in proper place,
Gliding slowly forward, then
Slowly courtesying back again.

Modern ways are quite alarming, grandma says,
But boys were charming—
Girls and boys I mean, of course—long ago,
Sweetly modest, bravely shy!
What if all of us should try just to feel
Like those who met in the stately minuet, long ago.
With the minuet in fashion,
Who could fly into a passion?
All would wear the calm they wore long ago,
And if in years to come, perchance,
I tell my grandchild of our dance,
I should really like to say,
We did it in some such way, long ago.