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So with decorum all things curried;
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 honeymoon 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 humor 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'
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 month, 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 loquacions strife
Promis'd 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 foriner 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
Iler present face surpass the old ;
With modesty her cheeks are dyed,
Ilumility 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,
· First printed as Essay 27 in “ Essays by Mr. Goldsmith," 1765, 12mo.
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 pictur'd 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 onr 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 shoes; 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.
Lastly, vouchsafe t observe his hand, Fill'd with a snake-encircled wand: By classic authors term'd Caduceus, And highly fam'd for several uses. To wit-most wondrously endued, No poppy-water half so good; For let folks only get a touch, Its soporific virtue's such, Though ne'er so much awake before, That quickly they begin to snore.
And here my simile alınost 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 lie:
But even this deity's existence
Shall lend my simile assistance.
Our modern bards! why, what a pox
Ale they-but senseless stones and blocks?
When lovely woman stoops to folly,
And finds too late that men betray, What charm can soothe her melancholy,
What art can wash her guilt away?
First printed in " The Vicar of Wakefield," 1766.