A heart-rending excerpt from Canto the Third of Dentologia , a poem on the diseases of the Teeth
…Behold Urilla, nature’s favored child; Bright on her birth indulgent fortune smiled; Her honored grandsire, when the field was won, By warring freemen, led by Washington, Nobly sustained, on many a glorious day, The fiercest fervors of the battle-fray…
Her sire, whose freighted ships from every shore Returned with wealth in unexhausted store, Was doubly rich:—his gold was less refined Than the bright treasures of his noble mind.
And she herself is fair in form and face; Her glance is modesty, her motion grace, Her smile, a moonbeam on the garden bower, Her blush, a rainbow on the summer shower. And she is gentler than the fearful fawn That drinks the glittering dew-drops of the lawn.
When first I saw her eyes’ celestial blue, Her cheeks’ vermilion, and the carmine hue That melted on her lips:—her auburn hair That floated playful on the yielding air; And then that neck within those graceful curls, Molten from Cleopatra’s liquid pearls, I whispered to my heart:—we’ll fondly seek The means, the hour, to hear the angel speak; For sure such language from those lips must flow, As none but pure and seraph natures know.
’Twas said—’twas done—the fit occasion came, As if to quench betimes the kindling flame Of love and admiration:—for she spoke, And lo, the heavenly spell forever broke; The fancied angel vanished into air, And left unfortunate Urilla there: For when her parted lips disclosed to view Those ruined arches, veiled in ebon hue, Where love had thought to feast the ravished sight On orient gems reflecting snowy light, Hope, disappointed, silently retired, Disgust triumphant came, and love expired!
And yet, Urilla’s single fault was small: If by so harsh a name ‘tis just to call Her slight neglect:—but ‘tis with beauty’s chain, As ’tis with nature’s:—sunder it in twain At any link, and you dissolve the whole, As death disparts the body from the soul.
Let every fair one shun Urilla’s fate, And wake to action, ere it be too late; Let each successive day unfailing bring The brush, the dentifrice, and, from the spring, The cleansing flood:—the labor will be small, And blooming health will soon reward it all. Or, if her past neglect preclude relief, By gentle means like these; assuage her grief; The dental art can remedy the ill, Restore her hopes, and make her lovely still.…