Nurse Jane’s Diseases.


To J.F.S.R.

The yarn I wish to spin to-day
Concerns a City by a Bay—
Or Harbour, if you say so:
Where Love upset an Apple-Cart
That would have pleased the kindly Heart
Of P. Ovidius Naso.

Australia hears the Clarion call
To Pills! My City’s Hospital
Made every Caller keener;
And what is strange, about this time,
It was no architectural Crime,
But just a Misdemeanour.

This lordly Hospital was planned
To help the Sick throughout the Land
To Hygiene or Hearses:
Its Doctors were a Corps d’Elite,
Its Roman Matron owned the Street
And five-and-sixty Nurses.

Napoleon’s Soldiers, though in Rags,
Had Marshals’ Bâtons in their Bags;
And ‘neath a Nurse’s Bonnet
You read the Text that rules her Life:
“I too may be a Doctor’s Wife!”—
The Darlings, how they con it!

But, as the Mischief had it here,
Ten Hero-Souls sans Hope or Fear
Prescribed or operated:
For one was “Such a lovely Duck!”
That every Heart, with Darts bestuck,
To view him palpitated.

Now Nurses differ, as you know,
For some are built for Use, not Show;
And Sixty-Four, though mostly
They guessed their Chances rather slight,
Were sure the Sixty-Fifth could sight
No Chance, however ghostly.

Her Name was JANE, plebeian JANE;
Her Features matched it—O, so plain!
I fear her Teeth protruded;
And then her Eyes turned several ways:
No Man in both at once could gaze
With Love, they all concluded.

Alas! that Men prefer mere Looks
To solid Virtue (say a Cook’s)
That seems a trifle coarse-faced:
This Problem always will perplex
The thinking Members of the Sex,
Especially the Horse-Faced.

Now, VENUS, aid me to suggest
Nurse AUDREY’S Beauties—Lips confest
For boughs that Cherries grow on;
And Cheeks! and Eyes! fit subjects these
For horticultural Similes;
Et Cætera, and so on.

The five-and-sixty Nurses well
And oft debated who was Belle,
And gave the Palm to AUDREY:
Compared with her FELISE was mean,
And CLARA was a rustic Quean,
While JANE was simply tawdry.

But while they ogled, blushed, or sighed
And played the rôle “If I were Bride!”
That maiden Fancy pleases,
JANE suddenly developed Charms
That threw the Prize into her Arms:
She got two strange Diseases!

In SIMON’S Posture, RASCH’S Sign,
Congenital in ADAM’S Line,
Suggested Diagnosis;
Yet how establish that, in face
Of all the Features of the Case,
Or prove Anastomosis?

Doctors are Men, we may opine,
(That is, if they are masculine)
Not adamant to Beauty;
Yet “the Profession” holds them fast,
And Love’s a sweet Distraction cast
Across the path of Duty.

Our handsome Hero sundry Links
Had forged with furtive Nods and Winks
And surreptitious Squeezes:
He wavered: AUDREY might have won
Had JANE not crossed the Rubicon
With seven more Diseases!

What Doctor could resist the Chance?
He saw, he seized the True Romance
That every Hero seizes:
He brought the Parson to the Bed—
His Friends declared, “He’s wed! He’s dead!
Of nine obscure Diseases.”


“The End” is not with Marriage sure,
For JANE became a perfect Cure,
And then her joy was shattered:
As one by one she lost her Dower,
Her fondest Glances in a Shower
Of Love in vain were scattered.


The Doctor drew a horse in Tatt.’s,
And soon eloped with AUDREY. That’s
The Sequel. I abhor it.
“O, shocking!” said the Nurses all,
And then with Pleasure went to call
And see “how dear JANE bore it.”


Long I have pondered this with Pain:
Is it in AUDREY? or in JANE?
Or in the Mob of Nurses?
When next you sec one swooping slow
Just ask her where her Morals grow,
And mention, please, these Verses.

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