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THE DOUBLE TRANSFORMATION:
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.
Such pleasures, unalloy'd with care,
Could any accident impair?
Could Cupid's shaft at length transfix
Our swain arriv'd 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!
Her presence banish'd all his peace.
Miss frown'd, and blush'd, and then was...marry'd.
The raptures of the bridal night?
The honey-moon like lightning flew,
The second brought its transports too:
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....
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
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 levee;
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 past 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 revell'd noose,
As each a different way pursues,