In these lines, from the opening of his poem, Richard Polwhele, a literary clergyman struggling to maintain his growing family on the low income from several small Cornish parishes, invites his readers to share his conservative, anti-feminist, ideology. The poem begins by deploring the condition into which its author sees young women as having descended. His diatribe against the newest French fashions in dress, in which girls ‘Scarce by a gossamery film carest,/Sport, in full view, the meretricious breast’ (p. 7) seems to take a certain amount of licentious pleasure in what it condemns, but proves to be attempting to link the ‘Gallic freaks’ of fashion to the ‘Gallic faith’ of Jacobin philosophy (ibid.). More pleasurable shocks await the reader in the next image, of young female bosoms heaving with ‘bliss botanic’ as their owners, indulging in the daring pursuit of botanising a plant, ‘Dissect its organ of unhallow’d lust,/And fondly gaze the titillating dust;’ (p. 9). Worst of all, however, are those who:    frantic, midst the democratic storm, Pursue, Philosophy! thy phantom-form. (p. 10)