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Still to be Neat by Ben Jonson


Like many of Jonson's works, this is written as rhyming couplets. This poem is, actually, titled "Simplex Munditiis" as a reference to the Latin poem written by Horace. It is translated as "so trim, so simple". In this poems context, it is important to know that "still" actually means "always." It praises a woman about her appearance. She always looks like she is going out to dinner. However, he is a bit upset about it, since "All is not sweet, all is not sound". But I think he'll get over it.


Simplex Munditiis

Still to be neat, still to be drest,
As you were going to a feast;
Still to be powder'd, still perfum'd:
Lady, it is to be presum'd,
Though art's hid causes are not found,
All is not sweet, all is not sound.

Give me a look, give me a face,
That make simplicity a grace;
Robes loosely flowing, hair as free:
Such sweet neglect more taketh me
Than all th'adulteries of art.
They strike mine eyes, but not my heart.

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Next: Song: To Celia

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Literary Movement
Renaissance, 16th Century

Beauty, Relationship