Epicoene, or the Silent Woman: Still to be neat, still to be drest by Ben Jonson

Analysis

This is only a small portion of the overall play titled, "The Epicene" or "Epicoene, or The silenet women". The entire play is a Renaissance comedy originally performed by the Blackfriars Children in 1609. Actually, Jonson thought the play was a failure, but after 51 years, it was revived and saw great success. Of course, since it is well known 400-plus years after it was originally made, I think it's safe to assume it is one of the best plays ever written. Anyway, this is written in iambic pentameter couplet rhymes.

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Poem

Epicoene, or the Silent Woman: Still to be neat, still to be drest
By 

Still to be neat, still to be drest,
As you were going to a feast;
Still to be powder'd, still perfumed:
Lady, it is to be presumed,
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 makes 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.

Published in .

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