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The World’s Wit and Humor: An Encyclopedia in 15 Volumes. 1906.

Richard Brinsley Sheridan (1751–1816)

The Literary Lady

WHAT motley cares Corilla’s mind perplex,

Whom maids and metaphors conspire to vex!

In studious dishabille behold her sit,

A lettered gossip and a household wit;

At once invoking, though for different views,

Her gods, her cook, her milliner, and muse.

Round her strewed room a frippery chaos lies,

A checkered wreck of notable and wise;

Bills, books, caps, couplets, combs, a varied mass,

Oppress the toilet and obscure the glass;

Unfinished, here an epigram is laid,

And there, a mantua-maker’s bill unpaid;

There, new-born plays foretaste the town’s applause,

There, dormant patterns pine for future gauze.

A moral essay now is all her care,

A satire next, and then a bill of fare.

A scene she now projects, and now a dish;

Here Act the First, and here, Remove with Fish.

Now, while this eye in a fine frenzy rolls,

That soberly casts up a bill for coals;

Black pins and daggers in one leaf she sticks,

And tears, and threads, and bowls, and thimbles mix.