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The morn was cold; he views with keen desire
The rusty grate unconscious of a fire :
With beer and milk arrears the frieze was scor'd,'
And five crack'd teacups dress'd the chimney-board; 2
A nightcap deck'd his brows instead of bay,
A cap by night—a stocking all the day!
FROM THE ORATORIO OF THE CAPTIVITY.
[The publication of this and the following song we have traced back to 1776, when they appeared, as here given, added to the first edition of "The Haunch of Venison' (4to, Kearsley and Ridley, 1776). The oratorio from which they were extracted, though probably written about 1761, was not printed till 1820. See p. 61 for the Oratorio, and pp. 63 and 67, for the previous forms of these two songs.-ED.]
THE wretch condemn'd with life to part,
Still, still on hope relies;
And ev'ry pang that rends the heart
Bids expectation rise.
Hope, like the glim'ring taper's light,
Adorns and cheers the way;
And still, as darker grows the night,
Emits a brighter ray.
O MEMORY! thou fond deceiver,
Still importunate and vain,
To former joys recurring ever,
And turning all the past to pain.
Thou, like the world, th' oppress'd oppressing,
Thy smiles increase the wretch's woe:
And he who wants each other blessing,
In thee must ever find a foe.
Var.-An unpaid reck'ning on the frieze, &c.
2 The author has given a similar, or rather, with a very slight alteration, the same description of the alehouse, in the 'Deserted Village.' -PRIOR.
THE DOUBLE TRANSFORMATION:
[This and the next poem have not been traced farther back in print than the 'Essays' volumes (1765-6), though, doubtless, as Goldsmith's motto for the 'Essays' was "Collecta revirescunt," these two poems, which were respectively Essays XXVI. and XXVII. in the first edition, and XXVIII. and XXIX. in the second edition, had appeared in print before. Our text is that of the author-revised second edition of the Essays,' 1766, the variations being from the first edition.-ED.]
SECLUDED from domestic strife,
Jack Book-worm led a college life;
A fellowship at twenty-five
Made him the happiest man alive;
He drank his glass, and crack'd his joke,
And freshmen wonder'd as he spoke.1
Such pleasures, unalloy'd with care,
Could any accident impair?
Could Cupid's shaft at length transfix
Our swain, arrived at thirty-six?
O, had the archer ne'er come down
To ravage in a country town!
Or Flavia been content to stop
At triumphs in a Fleet Street shop!
O, had her eyes forgot to blaze!
Or Jack had wanted eyes to gaze !
O!-but let exclamation cease,
Her presence banish'd all his peace; 2
1 The following additional couplet is in the first edition :-
Without politeness aim'd at breeding,
And laugh'd at pedantry and reading.
' After this, the following lines were in the first edition :-
Our alter'd parson now began
To be a perfect ladies' man;
Made sonnets, lisp'd his sermons o'er,
And told the tales he told before,
Of bailiffs pump'd, and proctors bit;
At college how he show'd his wit;
And, as the fair one still approv'd,
He fell in love-or thought he lov'd.
So, with decorum all things carried,
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 nightcaps wrapp'd her head.
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
1 Var. And though she felt his visage rough.—First edition.
2 Var.-Now tawdry Madam kept a bevy.-First edition.
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;1
While all their hours were pass'd between
Insulting repartee and spleen.
Thus, as her faults each day were known,2
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 noose,
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;
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;
2 Var.-Each day, the more her faults were known.-First edition. 3 Thus to perplex, &c.-First edition.
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 ev❜n 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 dazzl'd 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.
-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,2
I think I met with something there
To suit my purpose to a hair.
[1765, or earlier. See Introduction to 'The Double Transformation,' p. 84.]
1 Var.-I long had rack'd my brains to find.-First edition. 2 The Rev. Andrew Tooke's Pantheon,' a popular illustrated mytho☐ logy of the time.-ED.