Of Himself

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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,
Observ'd, 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 would 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, improv'd from head to heel,
   'Twere scarce too much to say,
No dancing bear 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'er claim him for her own.

This work was published before January 1, 1923, and is in the public domain worldwide because the author died at least 100 years ago.