Lines Addressed To Miss Theodora Jane Cowper.

A poem by William Cowper

William was once a bashful youth,
His modesty was such,
That one might say, to say the truth,
He rather had too much.


Some said that it was want of sense,
And others, want of spirit
(So blest a thing is impudence),
While others could not bear it.


But some a different notion had,
And, at each other winking,
Observed that though he little said,
He paid it off with thinking.


Howe’er, it happen’d, by degrees,
He mended, and grew perter,
In company was more at ease,
And dress’d a little smarter;


Nay, now and then, could look quite gay,
As other people do;
And sometimes said, or tried to say,
A witty thing or so.


He eyed the women, and made free
To comment on their shapes,
So that there was, or seem’d to be,
No fear of a relapse.


The women said, who thought him rough,
But now no longer foolish,
“The creature may do well enough,
But wants a deal of polish.”


At length improved from head to heel,
‘Twere scarce too much to say,
No dancing beau was so genteel
Or half so dégagé.


Now that a miracle so strange
May not in vain be shown,
Let the dear maid who wrought the change
E’en claim him for her own!

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