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So with decorum all things carry'd;
Miss frown'd and blush'd, and then was married.
Need we expose to vulgar sight
The raptures of the bridal night?
Need we intrude on hallow'd ground,
Or draw the curtains clos'd around ?
Let it suffice, that each had charms;
He clasp'd a goddess in his arms:
And, though she felt his usage rough,'
Yet, in a man, 'twas well enough.
The honey-moon like lightning flew;
The second brought its transports too :
A third, a fourth, were not amiss,
The fifth was friendship mix'd with bliss :
But, when a twelvemonth pass'd away,
Jack found his goddess made of clay;
Found half the charms that deck'd her face
Arose from powder, shreds, or lace :
But still the worst remain'd behind,
That very face had robb'd her mind. .
Skill'd in no other arts was she,
But dressing, patching, repartee;
And, just as humour rose or fell,
By turns a slattern or a belle.
'Tis true she dress’d with modern grace,
Half naked at a ball or race;
But when at home, at board or bed,
Five greasy night-caps wrapp'd her head.
And as the fair one still approv'd
He fell in love-or thought he lov'd,
So," &c. The allusion to the “bailiffs pump'd” applies to an incident in the Poet's own college career.
I "And though she felt his visage rough."— First edition.
Could so much beauty condescend
To be a dull domestic friend ?
Could any curtain lectures bring
To decency so fine a thing ?
In short, by night, 'twas fits or fretting;
By day, 'twas gadding or coquetting.
Fond to be seen, she kept a bevy'
Of powder'd coxcombs at her levy ;
The 'squire and captain took their stations,
And twenty other near relations :
Jack suck'd his pipe, and often broke
A sigh in suffocating smoke;?
While all their hours were pass'd between
Insulting repartee or spleen.
Thus as her faults each day were known,
He thinks her features coarser grown;
He fancies every vice she shows,
Or thins her lip, or points her nose :
Whenever rage or envy rise,-
How wide her mouth, how wild her eyes !
He knows not how, but so it is,
Her face is grown a knowing phiz ;
And, though her fops are wondrous civil,
He thinks her ugly as the devil.
Now to perplex the ravell’d nooze,
As each a different way pursues,
While sullen or loquacious strife
Promised to hold them on for life,
That dire disease, whose ruthless power
Withers the beauty's transient flower :-
Lo! the small pox, whose horrid glare
Levell’d its terrors at the fair ;
“Now tawdry madam kept a bevy."-First editio 3 “She in her turn became perplexing,
And found substantial bliss in vexing." --16.
And, rifling every youthful grace,
Left but the remnant of a face.
The glass, grown hateful to her sight, Reflected now a perfect fright: Each former art she vainly tries To bring back lustre to her eyes ; In vain she tries her paste and creams, To smooth her skin or hide its seams; Her country beaux and city cousins, Lovers no more, flew off by dozens; The 'squire himself was seen to yield, And even the captain quit the field.
Poor madam, now condemn'd to hack The rest of life with anxious Jack, Perceiving others fairly flown, Attempted pleasing him alone. Jack soon was dazzled to behold Her present face surpass the old : With modesty her cheeks are dy'd, Humility displaces pride; For tawdry finery is seen A person ever neatly clean : No more presuming on her sway, She learns good-nature every day : Serenely gay, and strict in duty, Jack finds his wife a perfect beauty.
IN THE MANNER OF SWIFT. 1
Long had I sought in vain to find
A likeness for the scribbling kind;
The modern scribbling kind, who write,
In wit, and sense, and nature's spite :
Till reading, I forget what day on,
A chapter out of Tooke's Pantheon,
I think I met with something there
To suit my purpose to a hair;
But let us not proceed too furious ;
First please to turn to God Mercurius !
You'll find him picturd at full length,
In book the second, page the tenth :
The stress of all my proofs on him I lay,
And now proceed we to our simile.
Imprimis ; pray observe his hat,
Wings upon either side—mark that.
Well! what is it from thence we gather?
Why, these denote a brain of feather.
A brain of feather ! very right,
With wit that's flighty, learning light :
Such as to modern bard's decreed ;
A just comparison,-proceed.
In the next place, his feet peruse,
Wings grow again from both his shocs ;
Design’d, no doubt, their part to bear,
And waft his godship through the air :
And here my simile unites ;
For in the modern poet's flights,
I'm sure it may be justly said,
His feet are useful as his head.
· First printed as Essay 27, in “ Essays by Mr. Goldsmith,” 1765, 12mo.
And here my simile almost tript; Yet grant a word by way of postscript. Moreover Mercury had a failing : Well ! what of that? out with it-stealing ; In which all modern bards agree, Being each as great a thief as he : But even this deity's existence Shall lend my simile assistance. Our modern bards ! why, what a pox Are they--but senseless stones and blocks.