To a Stout Shepherdess

Dear lady, are you open to a hint
As down our sober pavement you display
A costume reminiscent of a print
Of Valenciennes and shepherdesses gay?
When Watteau, master of Rococo art,
Depicted nymphs in pastoral disguises,
His cunning pencil only could impart
A charm to graceful shapes and slender sizes.
That saucy Watteau hat where rosebuds twine
Is not the sort a florid dame should wear.
Although tip-tilted at the proper line
Upon your own, or someone else’s, hair.
Those panniers of Pompadour brocade,
That scanty skirt, although no doubt de rigueur,
That corsage laced, with ruffles overlaid,
Are not, I think, intended for your figure.
Go home, dear lady, lay your gauds aside,
Afflict no more your feet with Louis heels,
Wear ample garments, flowing, full and wide
Take my advice, and see how nice it feels.
Accommodate your features with a veil,
And let your hat be quietly trimmed, and shady:
Then, though as shepherdess you frankly fail,
You may be more successful as a lady.
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