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After the fourth edition of this poem was printed, the publisher
received the following epitaph on Mr. Whitefoord,* from a friend of the late Dr. Goldsmith.
[IERE Whitefoord reclines, and, deny it who can,
Though he merrily lived, he is now a grave man: †
Rare compound of oddity, frolic, and fun!
Who relish'd a joke, and rejoiced in a pun;
Whose temper was generous, open, sincere;
A stranger to flattery, a stranger to fear;
Who scatter'd around wit and humor at will;
Whose daily bon mots half a column might fill :
A Scotchman, from pride and from prejudice free;
A scholar, yet surely no pedant was he.
What pity, alas! that so liberal a mind
Should so long be to newspaper essays confined !
Who perhaps to the summit of science could soar,
Yet content if the table he set in a roar:'
Whose talents to fill any station were fit,
Yet happy if Woodfall I confess'd him a wit.
Ye newspaper witlings, ye pert scribbling folks !
Who copied his squibs, and re-echoed his jokes ;
Ye tame imitators, ye servile herd, come,
Still follow your master, and visit his tomb;
To deck it, bring with you festoons of the vine,
* Mr. Caleb Whitefoord, author of many humorous essays.
† Mr. Whitefoord was so notorious a punster, that Dr. Goldsmith used to say it was impossible to keep him company, without being infected with the itch of punning.
Mr. H. S. Woodfall, printer of the Public Advertiser.
And copious libations bestow on his shrine;
Then strew all around it (you can do no less)
Cross Readings, Ship News, and Mistakes of the Press.*
Merry Whitefoord, farewell ! for thy sake I admit
That a Scot may have humor, I had almost said wit;
This debt to thy memory I cannot refuse,
• Thou best-humor'd man with the worst-humor'd Muse.'
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 cracked 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, arrived at thirty-six ?
Oh, had the archer ne'er come down
To ravage in a country town!
Or Flavia been content to stop
* Mr. Whitefoord had frequently indulged the town with hu. morous pieces under those titles in the Public Advertiser.
At triumphs in a Fleet Street shop!
Oh, had her eyes forgot to blaze !
Or Jack had wanted eyes to gaze !
Oh!- but let exclamation cease,
Her presence banished all his peace;
So with decorum all things carried,
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 closed around ?
Let it suffice that each had charms:
He clasped a goddess in his arms;
And though she felt his usage rough,
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,
The fifth was friendship mixed with bliss :
But, when a twelvemonth passed 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.
Skilld.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 dressed 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 tine 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 pass'd between
Insulting repartee and spleen.
Thus, as her faults each day were known,
He thinks her features coarser grown ;
He fancies every vice she shews,
Or thins her lips, 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 raveli'd noose,
As each a different way pursues,
While sullen or loquacious strife
Promised to hold them on for life,
That dire disease, whose ruthless power
Withers the beauty's transient flower,
Lo! the small pox, with horrid glare,
Levelld its terrors at the fair;
And, rifling every youthful grace,
Left but the rernnant of a face.
The glass, grown hateful to her sight,
Reflected now a perfect fright:
Each former 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 e'en the captain quit the field.
Poor madam, now condemn’d to back
The rest of life with anxious Jack,
Perceiving others fairly flown,
Attempted pleasing him alone.
Jack soon was dazzled to behold
Her present face surpass the old :
With modesty her cheeks are dyed,
Humility displaces pride;
For tawdry finery is seen
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.