Tag Archives: 1802

Napoleon, Otherwise Known as Puss in Boots

Believe it or not Puss in Boots, or General Junot Taken by Surprise is part of Thomas Rowlandson’s collections of satirical prints about Napoleon.  Confusing, I agree, as Napoleon is found nowhere in the print.  Instead we see a young girl marching around in boots with a sword and a shocked General Junot, who has been stirred upright from bed, trousers in hand.

Puss in Boots, or General Junot Taken by Surprise  by Thomas Rowlandson (1811)

The story connecting Rowlandson’s print to the Emperor appears in the future Madame Junot’s memoirs, but occurred when she was just a girl and still called Martin de Permond.  Back then the Bonapartes were close friends of the de Permonds, and when Napoleon visited one day, he took the occasion to put on his uniform for the first time.  What resulted was a bit of girlhood fun and long-lasting grudge:

“I well recollect that on the day when he first put on his uniform, he was as vain as young men usually are on such an occasion.  There was one part of his dress which had a very droll appearance–that was his boots.   They were so high and wide that his little thin legs seemed buried in their amplitude.

“Young people are always ready to observe any thing ridiculous; and as soon as my sister and I saw Napoleon enter the drawing-room we burst into a loud fit of laughter.  At that early age, as well as in after life, Bonaparte could not relish a joke; and when he found himself the object of merriment he grew angry.  My sister, who was some years older than I, told him that since he wore a sword he ought to be gallant to ladies, and, instead of being angry, should be happy that they joked with him.

“‘You are nothing but a child–a little pensionnaire’, said Napoleon, in a tone of contempt. Cecile, who was twelve or thirteen years of age, was highly indignant at being called a child; and she hastily resented the affront by replying to Bonaparte:

‘And you are nothing but a puss in boots.’  This excited a general laugh among all present except Napoleon whose rage I will not attempt to describe.  Though not much accustomed to society, he had too much tact not to perceive that he ought to be silent when personalities were introduced and his adversary was a woman.  Though deeply mortified at the unfortunate nickname which my sister had given him, yet he affected to forget it; and to prove that he cherished no malice on the subject, he got a little toy made and gave it as a present to me.  This toy consisted of a cat in boots, in the character of a footman running before the carriage of the Marquis de Carabas.  It was very well made and must have been rather expensive to him considering his straitened finances.  He brought along with it a pretty little edition of the popular tale of Puss in Boots which he presented to my sister, begging her to keep it as a token of his remembrance.”

Fast forward years later when Napoleon is married to Josephine [she is forty], and General Junot and his sixteen year old wife Madame Junot are dining with the couple at Malmaison.  Old Nap has not forgotten the Puss in Boots slight of many years past, and had since developed what many thought of as a smarting wit:

Napoleon as First Consul by Jean-Antoine Gros (1802)

 

Napoleon as First Consul by Jean-Antoine Gros (1802)

“Madame Bonaparte that day wore powder for the first time.  It became her very well but the first consul [Bonaparte] did nothing but laugh at her, and said she would do admirably to act the Countess d’Escarbagnas [a diva countess in Moliere’s play who was subjected to provincial suitors, none worthy of her).  Josephine was evidently displeased at this and Bonaparte added, ‘What, are you afraid you will not have a cavalier?  There is the Marquis de Carabas[fictional nobleman/master of Puss in Boots],’ pointing to Junot.  “He will offer you his arm I am sure.”

The first consul had often before this called both Junot and Marmont the Marquis de Carabas, but it was always in perfect good humor.  It was, he said, on account of their taste for dramatic representation.  They, of course, merely laughed at the joke.  Madame Bonaparte, however, took it more seriously and betrayed symptoms of vexation.  This was not the way to please Bonaparte.  He took his glass in his hand and, looking towards his wife he bowed his head ,and said, ‘To the health of Madame la Comtesse d Escarbagnas.’

Empress Josephine by Andrea Appiani (1808)

Empress Josephine by Andrea Appiani (1808)

The continuance of this pleasantry brought tears into Madame Bonaparte’s eyes. Napoleon observed this and he was, I believe, sorry for what he had said.  To make amends, he again took up his glass and winking at me, he said:  ‘To the health of Madame la Marquise de Carabas.’  We all burst into a fit of laughter in which Madame Bonaparte joined but her heart was nevertheless full.”

Which brings us full circle to why Rowlandon’s Puss in Boots print is part of his Napoleon collection.  Mystery solved for today!   If any of you come across a Rowlandson print that wants explanation and doesn’t appear readily available, send it my way.  I might just be inclined to spent an afternoon looking it up.

Susan Ardelie is the author of Shadow Fire Lady, the first book in the Incorporeal Lords series, a historical paranormal romance.  

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The Whims of Fashion, October-December 1802

Happy Monday everyone. I’m back for the last day of fashion plates in 1802, which will take us all the way to December.  You can rejoice about these plates because color has returned.  Yep, yesterday’s black and white plates have gone packing.  Hallelujah!  If you missed any of the previous posts, find them here: January-March, April-June, July-September.

October of 1802

In Paris:

What do you guys notice about this month? A star-printed dress. Love it! Can’t say I’ve seen that before. Yellow has obviously been making strides as there is no pink or rose to be seen. The magazines does refer to capotes bonnets (see satire here) of pink taffety being worn though.

Fashion is beginning its trickle down this month.  The black straw hat  has been adopted by the middle classes. For the elegantes, jonquil hats and sky blue dresses are now the thing. The hated cropped hair a la Titus is starting to die out, and the full bodies of dresses are being pulled in for a slimming style. Turbans have come back, but they are now made of shawls. The other headdress of choice is a veil worn at the halfway point on the top of the head. Similar to the dress pictured, black hats are ornamented with coquelicot, or corn poppy colored, stars. Feathers are less common, and instead scarlet poppies are worn. Full sleeves have also seen their moment come and go.

In London:

The only fashion of real note is sky-blue muslin dresses worn tight around the neck with white muslin sleeves. Silk seems to be the preferred fabric for bonnets, caps, and headdresses. Black remains popular.

November of 1802

In Paris:

Check out the hair. It’s tufted up top and pinned with a golden arrow. Kind of fabulous, kind of not. Hair dressing has made a leap, and there’s even a reference to the locks of hair that fall over the turban being two different colors. Hmm, wonder how they achieved that.  Artificial hair? It’s mentioned all throughout 1802, maybe as a side effect of regret from hair a la Titus?

So what’s new, you ask?  Feathers are dead, and flowers of the capuchin color are worn instead.  Based on earlier references to capuchin accessories and dresses, I take capuchin to refer to the robes Capuchin friars wore, so I think they’re talking about brown flowers–which is different.

On account of the cooling weather, black beaver hats are making an appearance. “Two kinds of dresses are also remarked in the most fashionable circles: one is kind of fold, formed by a shawl which falls down upon the neck and discovers the hair in the midst of it; the other is a turban made with a shawl, embroidered with spots of gold or silver, one point of which hangs down on the left shoulder. The accompaniments to the first dress are gold pins in the shape of arrows, caducea, or lyres combs with gold or diamonds.” Marigold, jonquil gold, rose, and pistachio green are the favored colors. Also, white fur, which was popular in winter of 1801, has returned. Something fun about November? The most fashionable ladies wear tinseled turbans with their evening dresses.

In London:
Humbug.  The descriptions are omitted this month, so we are out of luck.

December of 1802

In Paris:

Rose, white, and marigold are the colors for December, though lilac is mentioned as a “rival.” Maybe a throwback from summer since it’s now chilly outside.

Hairstyles range from simple to complicated. The most fashionable is a l’Angloise, which is described as “cut square and turned back over the forehead.” To complement this style, the hats are now high upon the head so that the hairstyle will show. Black velvet hats are gaining ground, and are worn with orange velvet bands. Orange colored velvets hats are also common. There is mention of gaiter boots “which resemble leather and stuff.” Greatcoats in whitish or drab colors appear with body coats of blue and black underneath. Is this 1802’s answer to winter wear? Beaver hats are already becoming unstylish, and I see in December the first mention of fans. They are popular in white crape, black, or Egyptian brown, and sport spangles of gold, silver, or steel.

In London:

Amber, coquelicot, green and purple are the in colors. White cambric muslin dresses are popular (still!) Lace remains popular, but cloaks are now longer worn; pelisses and fur tippets have taken their place.

And whew, we’re done. Are you guys sick of plates yet? I think I might be and that leaves me trolling through my notes about what I should write about next.  I do have something Elizabethan in the works, but I take suggestions!

If you haven’t had enough fashion plates, I have two sites for you.  The Incroyables et Merveilleuses has plates from the Directoire period here.  The Los Angeles public library also has a mind-boggling rich resource in the Casey Fashion Plates here.

The Whims of Fashion, July-September 1802

Welcome to day three of The Whims of Fashion in 1802.  If I haven’t mentioned it on the January-March and April-June posts, you can visit the selections from The Lady’s Magazine by clicking on any fashion plate within the post.

July of 1802

In Paris:

Although it wasn’t shown on June’s fashion plate, the long train is starting to shorten. By July, it has come back with full force. Robes are also getting longer in the waist too, and the colors have changed.  Apart from white, sky-blue, rose and black are popular. Wait, black? Really?  We’ve talked about black lace and black velvet caps, but dresses. Before when I looked at portraits, including the one I shared earlier this week of Lady Francis Courtenay, I have always assumed black was for mourning.  Apparently, this is untrue.

One more thing to note is the headdress. It’s similar to a handkerchief and called a fichu en marmotte. Hairstyles a la Titus (like Lady Caroline Lamb) have caught on, but The Lady’s Magazine disapproves. They refer to hair in the front being saved from the “fatal scissors,” and in the months to come will blame the style on the hot weather.

Hair a la Titus, directoire period

Pinned and plaited is the style for ladies who refuse to relinquish their long locks.

In London:

Fashions are “much copied” from the Parisian styles, but there are some differences. The Rohan hat, “made of frivolity, twist, and willow,” has been invented by a Madame Lebrun.  Green, yellow, and lilac are also the sought after colors.  Walking dresses are “short, and flounced round the bottom.”  A pretty bonnet of pink silk trimmed with black velvet and white ostrich feathers is described.

August of 1802

Again with the black and white–not nearly as fun, but July to September is colorless. Imaginations, start firing.

In Paris:

Veils are still worn, but instead of being tied under the chin, they lay flat against the hair and drape over the head. Round dresses and Marmaduke tunics prevail. Also remember when I talked about black dresses being reserved for mourning? Well, this month dresses of black crape are all the rage. They appear with full sleeves and are complemented by a black straw hat instead of the formerly favored white hat. Poppy colored ribbons, striped in black, are a common color combination–beautiful in nature and lovely on a lady:

Papaver rhoeas

In London:

Pink is in! For evening the dress of choice is a round robe of pink muslin with lace across the back. Turbans of pink, ornamented with bead and pink feathers, are worn to complete the ensemble. During the day, cambric or short dresses of nankeen, full in the front but tight in the back, are preferred. Unlike the previous Spring months, flowers are out and feathers are it. The white Spanish cloak is also worn in black now–a curious choice for the hot summer months?

September of 1802

In Paris:

Rose is back with a vengeance. I’m starting to wonder if ladies got sick of buying new things (or were reprimanded by their husbands/fathers, more like!) and simply brought back a hue that was fading a month or two before. Black and rose are the colors to pair now. As far as headdresses go, veils are used, but the style has changed. Instead of letting the fabric drape over the forehead, it’s pulled to the back of the head and pinned in place, lest it fall off.  Golden combs are used on both short and long hair. Rather than the empire waists of months past, low waists and full sleeves are everywhere. The fichus en marmotte that were so popular in July are now being worn over hair, hats, and mob caps.

In London:

I’m starting to realize London fashions change much more slowly than in Paris. For evening, pink and white round muslin dresses are still choice, but there is a mention of adding “A spencer of yellow silk, covered and trimmed with black lace.” Now that is new! Spencers are essentially boleros, short jacket that open at the bosom and have tight sleeves.  If they are pulled overhead and tightly fitted, they are called canezous or hussar vests.

early 19th century bonnet and spencerDuchess of Angouleme bonnet and spencer, early 19th century, possibly 1814, from  La Belle Assemblee.

The yellow and black spencer mentioned above is paired with a yellow hat with black lace and a yellow feather to boot.  Dresses up top are usually lighter in color to contrast with the spencer.  Daytime shows the procession of buff muslin dresses with white cambric sleeves.

One more day and we’ve come full circle in fashion plates circa 1802. See you tomorrow!

The Whims of Fashion, April-June 1802

Hello again, fashion enthusiasts! I hope you enjoyed yesterday’s January-March styles, and have come ready for another dose of what ladies salivated over in 1802. Unfortunately April’s plate is black and white, but I think the colors were primarily black and white anyway, so we aren’t missing much.  The fur trim is likely swansdown, a continuation February trend where swansdown appeared in pelisses, trim, etc.  But doesn’t April look more wintry than January, which was bursting with rose and showed the short tunic?  An odd choice for fashion plates, but maybe Parisian ladies weren’t ready to give up their frosty glamour quite yet.

April of 1802

In Paris:

So, remember when I told you aigrettes were officially so yesterday? They are back (already?)  The great thing about April is that headdresses have become ridiculous. I wish there was a picture of this because the Medusa-like effect would be amusing, but the magazine describes the new style as: “The hair not only appears but forms twisted locks and are scattered over the whole head dress. To make trial of this strange fashion without sacrificing their hair, some elegantes have ordered black wigs a-la-Medusa.”

Something like this…

Medusa by Caravaggio (1595-96)

 

Medusa by Caravaggio (1595-96)

The other designs for the head are include plaited headdresses “…adorned with a garland of flowers or a bandeau of steel beads. The Pamela hats degenerate.”  Asiatic turbans are also starting to ever so slowly fall out of favor: “A few elegantes have in place of the turban, which continues so obstinately in fashion, a mob cap a-la-Figaro in silk gold net with gold tassels.”  I like the gold tassels.  It sounds either garish or fabulous, and reminds me of Diana Vreeland’s tassel earrings.

(As a side note, I watched the documentary about her, The Eye Has to Travel, last night on Netflix streaming.  If you like outrageous, original women, watch it.  She invented and embodies the word “pizzazz”)

In London:

April’s colors would make Chanel proud: white muslin dresses with white pelisses trimmed in black lace, worn with a black velvet cap. Tres chic!  Sprigged muslin and white cambric are another option for promenade dresses.  Spanish cloaks of white muslin are replacing pelisses, which are probably too warm for April; these will become a trend for some months to come.  The colors in London are straw, lilac, blue, and green.

May of 1802

In Paris:

Cashmere shawls like the one worn above are called Egyptian shawls. They actually come from India, but are routed through Egypt, thereby gaining the moniker.  Hats of white satin are most fashionable when worn with white ribbands and white feathers (like a powder puff on the head!)  Velvet hats still reign in the same colors of orange and scarlet, but “the turban fashion is much in decline.”  The hats a-la-Pamela, which were coveted two months ago, are outmoded.  What’s great about this month?  Hair adorned with diadems of white daisies.  This would look striking on dark hair.

In London:

The black lace trim of earlier months is holding steady.  In May, it appears as a broad trim on scarfs or shawls of lilac and other colors, tied with a ribbon bow.  Watch necklaces that perform double duty as lockets–a delightful ode to gentleman’s pocket watches–swing over the bodice of round white muslin dresses.  Other popular trinkets are harps with pearls (brand new and worn on a gold chain) and crescent diamonds worn near the bosom.  There is also mention of horns of the lamp of eve (anybody know what this means?  Lamp of evening?  Literally the lamp of Eve?  Horns = sinfulness, the devil?  I googled without luck.  If you are interested, the exact reference is, “the horns of the lamp of eve cannot be supposed to refer to the happy husbands of our modern belles.”)

Although scarlet and orange are seen, the colors are lilac, yellow, and blue.  The color silver is mentioned in sprays and trimming. Straw hats, seen in previous months, are decorated with flowers and tied beneath the chin. Dutch straw bonnets are turned up, in front and behind, and sport puffed up white muslin around the brim.  The fashionably short cloak sounds beautiful: lined with pink and trimmed with broad white lace.  May’s edition has the longest description of London’s fashions.  If you’re interested in reading more, click on the May’s Parisians fashion picture, and scroll to page 265.

June of 1802

In Paris:

The style pictured has altered slightly from last month. Sleeves are shorter and worn with white gloves.  The shawl is all one color. In other news, fashionable ladies read, and turbans and antique headdresses are officially dead. The veil is en vogue; also the half handkerchief of lace. Dark green and jonquil taffetas are beginning to replace the favored rose and lilac of yesterday.

In London:

Round dresses of white muslin that wrap around are very popular. For day dresses, cambric muslin is the choice of fashionable ladies. There’s a lot of white satin, white feathers, white muslin overall, along with lace. Dresses of violet silk with white sleeves trimmed in lace are making an appearance. Can you guess what the prevailing colors are? Lilac, flesh-color, blue and puce. I didn’t know puce was still popular in earliest 19th century.  Spanish cloaks of white muslin trimmed round with lace are also continuing to be seen on ladies.  For hats, the leghorn and chip are popular.  If you wish to learn more about 18th century hats, look at Lars Datter’s page.  It provides links to museums and has most every C18 hat you will want to see.

I’ll be back tomorrow for July to September fashions.

The Whims of Fashion, January-March 1802

I’ve mentioned The Lady’s Magazine many times before.  It’s lovely as a period resource, and performs as an entertaining companion to The Gentleman’s Magazine.  Many of the articles are reader contributed, making it very popular with the enterprising ladies of the day, but there was one complaint made to the editorial staff:  fashionistas were not always satisfied with the advice on what was trendiest.  One of the reasons for this was that readers contributed the reports, but I think that gives us a nice view of the average respectable woman’s eye for detail, whether she was from the ton or the bourgeoisie.

Despite occasional complaints, the magazine had a very good run.  Distribution continued from 1770 to 1837.  I love it for its anecdotes and fashion plates.  The ones below show Parisian styles from 1802. Because the descriptions for a single month are loooong, I’ll be posting three months at a time with a selection from the original text.  If you’re a historical writer or costumer, this magazine is golden, but even if you’re not, the whims of fashion are a delight.  Each month contains a description of Paris and London fashions, with a brief description of what a la mode gentleman wore.  Maybe it’ll give you some inspiration in your own closet or maybe you’re like me and you just like pretty pictures.  Either way, enjoy!

January of 1802

In Paris:
What do you think of the short tunic? I haven’t seen them much before. The Lady’s Magazine describes them as adaptable “to almost all varieties of robes in full dress.” If anything, they were practical when a lady considered her closet full of muslin dresses.
The turbans, which are going to appear in many 1801-1802 fashions, “have a strongly marked Asiatic character… The hair distinctly separated upon the forehead, and very sleek and smooth, comes along the temples until it loses itself in these head-dresses.” Pearls are going to make their impression in the early parts of 1802, appearing in cords over the turbans. Bandeaus are also popular. They are basically headbands that are made by wrapping a fabric once, maybe twice, over the hair. The wealthiest women wear them ornamented with diamonds. As a holdover from 1801, “rose is still the reigning colour.”

In London:
Green velvet graces pelisses and bonnets, and as you’ll soon note with the English, most of the accessories on the ensemble match. Feathers this month are green, as are the flowers that appear on bonnets. The other popular colors are purple, scarlet, and buff. Also, necklines are cut low to show cleavage and the waist is short or empire.

February of 1802

In Paris:
“The head-dress for undress is frequently only a piece of muslin, sometimes enlivened with pearls; pearls are likewise the usual ornaments for head dress. In full dress turbans are principally worn…”

“Orange colour has not long enjoyed an exclusive favour. Several elegantes have resumed the rose; others have decided upon the shamoy [chamois]…” White satin hats with orange ribbands complement the look. Some ladies even sport pure orange velvet hats. The rage for orange extends to “satin square Polish hats with flat crowns. They are tied with a ribband of the same colour, under the chin, and leave a few ringlets hair visible on the back of the neck and at the sides.”

Rose is battling orange though. “The morning robes in highest esteem are calicoes of a soot colour with rose flowers. We observed at the late balls some very elegant rose coloured dominos, but the greater number were black. The necklaces of newest fashion are the necklaces a-la-Romaine with twisted branches, bearing sometimes one, and sometimes three, flat pieces cornelian or agate of an oval shape…” Combs are something else we’ll see in 1802. They are usually gold and this months are “in the shape of a diadem chased in gold with three cornelians or painted ornaments.”

In London:
The emerging colors are black and yellow and trains are long. The evening dress reminds me of Marilyn Monroe when she wore white satin with fur.  In 1802, the dress would be trimmed in swansdown (a repeated fashion in the cooler months); the mantle would also be satin.  It’s a great look in 1802, 1953, and now. But faux fur–don’t go plucking swans.

Cornelians [aka carnelians] are popping up, but wearing cornelian hearts on a golden chain is a charming fashion with a caveat. The Magazine solemnly states: “We hope this is not emblematical that ladies retain their lovers hearts by chains of gold, instead of love.”

 March of 1802

In Paris:
Gorgeous gown, isn’t it?  Although orange reigned last month, it appears rose is still beloved. Confusing for a fashionista to keep straight. Noticeably different in March is that “The robes are adorned with flowers lozenges or very close foliage.” The turbans are still Asiatic. In other news, aigrettes [sprays of jewels] are out. The cool hats are now called a-la-Pamela, but they are restricted to the “opulent class.”  What’s particularly confusing about March is that the “ribbands, which are of velvet, were at first orange colour, then cherry, the scarlet poppy, then white, now cherry color.” I don’t envy the ladies this season. Sounds like a full-time job just to keep up.

My favorite part of March is not shown in a print, but it sounds delightful: “Some elegantes appear in head-dresses of hair with diadems of foliage; others with diadems of plain steel, but the greatest number with golden arrows in the front of their heads.” Katniss would approve.

In London:
Large earrings and necklaces in the Chinese style are the thing. Popular gems are rubies, pearls, emeralds, and diamonds. For hairstyles, short curls frame the face, and silver myrtles and laurel wreaths are worn in the hair. This is an extension of the previous jewelry trend a-la-Romaine from February, except it’s gravitated upward.

That’s it for now.  Come back tomorrow.  I’ll be posting the second quarter of the year, and you wouldn’t want to miss that, would you? 

The Advantages of Wearing Muslin Dresses

Keeping with the theme of ladies’ mishaps from yesterday, I thought I’d share with you an even funnier incident with the fireplace.

Advantages of Wearing Muslin by James Gillray (1802)

When this print was published in 1802, the fashion of wearing muslin was reaching new heights and men did not approve, at least not publicly. Muslin was skimpy, clung to curves, and could have used some fire retardant to keep it from attracting flames. Élégantes, however, would not be persuaded, and Gillray capitalized on their silliness. He should be applauded for coloring the shoes and accessories exactly the right hue according to fashion of the day.  Orange, scarlet poppy, cherry and rose were heavily favored, although I’m not sure either of these ladies would flatter the trendsetters’ view of themselves.  Gotta love Gillray for that.

P.S.  In comparison to yesterday’s Fragonard, notice the cat running away from the fire?  Yes, felines are smarter than ladies.

<a href=”http://www.mylivesignature.com&#8221; target=”_blank”><img src=”http://signatures.mylivesignature.com/54490/59/16FFFCBB625DD5986D8CFA5721356BFA.png&#8221; style=”border: 0 !important; background: transparent;”/></a>

Come back tomorrow to see the real fashion Gillray was interpreting through satire.  I’ll be posting some colored fashion plates from 1802, one with an absolutely gorgeous embroidered dress.

Sex Education for Women Circa 1802

In this early 19th century version of “the video” females of all ages, from a grandmother to a child who must stand on her tiptoes to view the exhibition, come to learn from the wax-work pregnant woman, her womb and fetus exposed by cut-away flesh beneath a glass box.

“O famous wax-work!” states the satirical poem below, “Where our fair ones come, Like female Neros made to see a womb, To hear fine Lectures, read on Generation, And all the Arts explain’d of Procreation.”

The figurines entwined in erotic embraces on the side table serve as further instruction for the curious ladies who, much to the chagrin of those remembering “politer times”, are eagerly “Exploring in the sight of all the world, The dark Receptacle from whence we’re hurl’d.”

The Poem:

In days of Yore, when modesty reign’d here,
Virgins were bashful, Matrons were severe;
None knew then what it was to chat with Men,
Or in smart Billets-doux to use the pen.
Sermons and Psalm-Books much employ’d their time,
Nor, save the latter, read they ought in Rhime.
If e’er they wrote, ’twas when some choice Receipt 
Was found to cure a Cough, or toss up Meat;
Such th’ Assiduous House-wife sought with Care,
And in her Books preserv’d as Treasure rare.
Each Woman then, the Glory of her Spouse,
Look’d to his Wealth, and constant kept his House.
Decent her Garb; her Language true and plain;
She heightened ev’ry Joy, and softened ev’ry Pain.
 
In our politer times, the Female Race
An easier mode of Living [by] far embrace.
No more such arduous Methods Women try,
But with the Men in thirst of Pleasure vie:
Like them, they Ride, they Walk, nay Rake and Drink,
And seldom say their Prayers, or deign to Think.
Thus rub thro’ Life, forgetful of its End;
By none Befriended, and to none a Friend;
Wild without Wit, from Spleen — not Judgment — grave;
Despising Faith, but to her Lusts a Slave.
Each courtly Wanton wanders thro’ her Time,
And feels Declension ere she reach her Prime.
 
But of all Follies, sure the last and worst
Is that with which our learned Age is curs’d.
This bawdy Itch of knowing secret Things,
And tracing human Nature to its Springs;
Exploring in the sight of all the world
The dark Receptacle from whence we’re hurl’d.
O famous wax-work! Where our fair ones come,
Like female Neros made to see a womb,
To hear fine Lectures, read on Generation,
And all the Arts explain’d of Procreation.
That Rake, in time to come, when he convenes,
What copious Drury sends, and Wild-street gleans,
He may have Bawds in Bibs, and Midwives in their teens.
 
What Vices Greek and Roman Dames defil’d,
How they on Slaves and Fencers often smil’d,
Rode, Drink, and Danced, we’re by old Sat’rists told;
But of no Thais of our modern Mold —
Who ere for Wedlock ripe is wild to see
What must its Joys, and what its Pains must be;
How in the Womb the Foetus is reclin’d;
What Passage thence by Nature is design’d;
With ev’ry other Circumstance beside,
That may inform her ere she be a Bride,
And make her wiser than the Dame who bore
This prying Wench, — or Grandmother before,
Who liv’d when Innocence sway’d here of Yore.
 
O might the shocking Scene so strike the Mind,
As that true Sense from this strange sight they’d find:
Learn to believe themselves but frail, tho’ fair;
And make their Souls what they deserve — their Care;
Live to those Ends for which their Lives were given,
To bless Mankind, and make this World a Heaven.
The Wax-work then — should be deem’d worthy Fame,
Not be, as now, all its Spectators’ Shame.