MY aunt! my dear unmarried aunt! Long years have o'er her flown; Yet still she strains the aching clasp That binds her virgin zone; I know it hurts her,—though she looks As cheerful as she can; Her waist is ampler than her life, For life is but a span. My aunt! my poor deluded aunt! Her hair is almost gray; Why will she train that winter curl In such a spring-like way? How can she lay her glasses down, And say she reads as well, When through a double convex lens She just makes out to spell? Her father—grandpapa I forgive This erring lip its smiles— Vowed she should make the finest girl Within a hundred miles; He sent her to a stylish school; 'T was in her thirteenth June; And with her, as the rules required, "Two towels and a spoon." They braced my aunt against a board, To make her straight and tall; They laced her up, they starved her down, To make her light and small; They pinched her feet, they singed her hair, They screwed it up with pins;— Oh never mortal suffered more In penance for her sins. So, when my precious aunt was done, My grandsire brought her back; (By daylight, lest some rabid youth Might follow on the track;) "Ah!" said my grandsire, as he shook Some powder in his pan, "What could this lovely creature do Against a desperate man!" Alas! nor chariot, nor barouche, Nor bandit cavalcade, Tore from the trembling father's arms His all-accomplished maid. For her how happy had it been And Heaven had spared to me To see one sad, ungathered rose On my ancestral tree.
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