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THE DOUBLE TRANSFORMATION:
SECLUDED from domestic strife,
Jack Book-worm led a college life;
A fellowship at twenty-five
Such pleasures, unalloy'd with care,
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!.......But let exclamation cease:
Her presence banish'd all his peace.
So with decorum all things carry’d;
Miss frown'd, and blush'd, and then was...marry'd.
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;
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;
But, when a twelvemonth pass'd away,
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 wrap'd her head.
Could so much beauty condescend
To be a dull domestic friend?
Could any curtain lectures bring
Fond to be seen, she kept a bevy
Of powder'd coxcombs at her levee;
The 'squire and captain took their stations,
And twenty other near relations;
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;
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 revell'd noose,
As each a different way pursues,