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Poem by Jonathan Swift
A Beautiful Young Nymph Going to Bed
Corinna, Pride of Drury-Lane, For whom no Shepherd sighs in vain; Never did Covent Garden boast So bright a batter'd, strolling Toast; No drunken Rake to pick her up, No Cellar where on Tick to sup; Returning at the Midnight Hour; Four Stories climbing to her Bow'r; Then, seated on a three-legg'd Chair, Takes off her artificial Hair: Now, picking out a Crystal Eye, She wipes it clean, and lays it by. Her Eye-Brows from a Mouse's Hide, Stuck on with Art on either Side, Pulls off with Care, and first displays 'em, Then in a Play-Book smoothly lays 'em. Now dextrously her Plumpers draws, That serve to fill her hollow Jaws. Untwists a Wire; and from her Gums A Set of Teeth completely comes. Pulls out the Rags contriv'd to prop Her flabby Dugs and down they drop. Proceeding on, the lovely Goddess Unlaces next her Steel-Rib'd Bodice; Which by the Operator's Skill, Press down the Lumps, the Hollows fill, Up hoes her Hand, and off she slips The Bolsters that supply her Hips. With gentlest Touch, she next explores Her Shankers, Issues, running Sores, Effects of many a sad Disaster; And then to each applies a Plaster. But must, before she goes to Bed, Rub off the Daubs of White and Red; And smooth the Furrows in her Front, With greasy Paper stuck upon't. She takes a Bolus e'er she sleeps; And then between two Blankets creeps. With pains of love tormented lies; Or if she chance to close her Eyes, Of Bridewell and the Compter dreams, And feels the Lash, and faintly screams; Or, by a faithless Bully drawn, At some Hedge-Tavern lies in Pawn; Or to Jamaica seems transported, Alone, and by no Planter courted; Or, near Fleet-Ditch's oozy Brinks, Surrounded with a Hundred Stinks, Belated, seems on watch to lie, And snap some Cull passing by; Or, struck with Fear, her Fancy runs On Watchmen, Constables and Duns, From whom she meets with frequent Rubs; But, never from Religious Clubs; Whose Favour she is sure to find, Because she pays them all in Kind. CORINNA wakes. A dreadful Sight! Behold the Ruins of the Night! A wicked Rat her Plaster stole, Half eat, and dragged it to his Hole. The Crystal Eye, alas, was miss'd; And Puss had on her Plumpers piss'd. A Pigeon pick'd her Issue-Peas; And Shock her Tresses fill'd with Fleas. The Nymph, tho' in this mangled Plight, Must ev'ry Morn her Limbs unite. But how shall I describe her Arts To recollect the scatter'd Parts? Or show the Anguish, Toil, and Pain, Of gath'ring up herself again? The bashful Muse will never bear In such a Scene to interfere. Corinna in the Morning dizen'd, Who sees, will spew; who smells, be poison'd.
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