When Cupid sly, with mutual fires,
Some youth and blooming maid inspires,
An interchange of hearts ’tis said,
Takes place between the youth and maid.
And hence perchance the waggish choose,
To say their wits that lovers lose,
For sure each heart, a stranger guest,
Must strangely fill another’s breast.
And guide but ill the head and hand,
That waits on its supreme command.
This shall the following tale declare —
Once lived a maiden young and fair,
No maid could pickle half so well,
And none could her preserves excel.
And more no nymph with nicer art,
Could make a pudding raise a tart.
(The figures that her pie crust graced
You’d think that Phidias hand had traced.)
Nor at her needle less expert,
Could work a cap or make a shirt.
With this fair maid, a youth from college,
His head stuffed full of classic knowledge,
Was deeply smit, yet hapless lover.
Dared not by words his flame discover,
For blushing merit often fails
Where bolder ignorance prevails.
And hence to tell how he was smitten,
This youth had an epistle written,
Consulted all the bards of old,
Whoe’er of love or beauty told.
His suit the choicest words to plead in,
And make it worth his mistress’ reading,
And now to Pallas doth compare her,
For beauty Venus comes not near her.
Now gives her Thetis’ silver feet,
In her the triple graces meet.
Now loudly talks of bows and arrows,
Enough to kill a thousand sparrows.
Now flames and lighted torches uses,
Enough to burn a thousand houses.
To comprehend this mass of learning,
Acquired some knowledge some discerning Howe’er the maid at last found out
What all this talking was about
And as the youth his look so smart
And converse fine had won her heart
(For sooth to say she liked it well
Tho’ not the sense of half could tell.)
So in like way to own her love
Her blushes save, his suit approve,
She sent him being a bad inditer
And answer from the letter writer.
The lovers met, exchanged their hearts
Th’event unknown, the youth departs
But wonders that his giddy head
Remembers naught of all he’d read
And she with wonder eke discerning
That she could think of naught but learning
Where’er the lovely maid was looking
For Mistress Glasse’s art of cooking,
She brought, tho’ Horace ne’er she’d read,
His Art of Poetry instead.
Whene’er a sprig of sage she’d use
Her broth to season or her goose
She wondered much what classic name,
In Dioscorides t’would claim,
What of its virtues Pliny wrote;
Or other ancient sages taught.
Her English soup to eat was loth,
And longed to taste the Spartan broth
And now a lamprey would delight in
More than a haddock or a whiting.
And since th’ improvement of her charms
A lady’s fancy always warms
Fain would she now her form enhance
By robes of Grecian elegance,
Nor when embroidering could forget
The classic names of Scroll and Frett.
The youth with other eyes she saw
Nor could perceive the slightest flaw;
For as each youth full well it known is
Is in his eyes a gay Adonis,
And every nymph believes her face,
That of Venus or a Grace, And likewise all behold their mind
With virtue, learning, wit refined
So she no fault could now discover,
Seeing with his own eyes her lover,
While he, who viewed her with her own,
Thought her each day more perfect grown;
The maid besides could scarcely speak
Without quotations from the Greek,
And when she should her dinner cook
Was pouring o’er some learned book,
Or often would that dinner spoil
By using vinegar for oil.
Her mother, at a change so sad,
Began to fear the girl was mad
But when at length she guessed the truth,
As much this lady liked the youth
She deemed it meet to join their hands
With speed in Hymen’s holy bands.
For when their hearts poor lovers lack
’Tis said that Hymen gives them back,
And tho’ young Cupid’s ever blind,
Hymen has piercing eyes we find!
The youth meanwhile, as much perplexed,
His heart with pies and puddings vexed.
When’er he would a passage quote,
From some fam’d antient bard by rote,
Receipts for pickling in his head,
Or making jellies came instead.
And often for the classics he
Would bring “The Lady’s Library.”
And oft his pen and ink instead
He took the needle and the thread.
Much did his worthy tutor grieve
This alternation to perceive,
Before no youth more studious known,
But now so wild and thoughtless grown.
At length howe’er in Hymen’s bands
This youth and maiden joined their hands
And by full many a prayer implored
Their hearts the gracious God restored.
When soon the youth afflicted mourned
His Venus to a very woman turned.