“Still to be Neat” is a song sung by the personality Clerimont in one of Ben Jonson’s many successful and also highly praised comedies, Epicne: Or, The silent Woman. Clerimont is a rowdy co-conspirator of sir Dauphine Eugenie, a young man who is to inherit a fortune indigenous his self-centered uncle, Morose. Morose, wishing to disinherit his nephew, marries Epicne, a young woman whose future children, the plans, will obtain his estate rather of Dauphine. At the finish of the play, it transpires that Epicne is actually a young guy hired and also trained by Dauphine for the role of wife to Morose.

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The song is in 2 stanzas of 6 lines each. Favor the plot the the play, it concerns appearances which deserve to belie reality. The first stanza can be paraphrased as, “Lady, although due to the fact that of cosmetics you space lovely ~ above the surface, you might not be beautiful at all underneath.” The second stanza says, “I favor a woman whose surface ar is an easy and unaffected, unadorned, however who is lover within.” One key to knowledge the poem is to know that the word “still” below really method “always” and carries a concessive sense: “Still to be neat” could therefore be paraphrased. “Although you always appear neat.” “Neat,” “dressed,” “powdered,” and also “perfumed” define the cosmetic artifices to work by a woman in high culture to do herself beautiful to the eyes of admiring, standard men.

The “hid causes” of art can be one of two people a natural, within beauty or merely cunning strategies that self-adornment. Because the lady is always seen spanned with powder, perfumed, and also clothed in fancy, carefully arranged dress, it is to it is in presumed the she hesitates to show herself there is no the protecting artifice the cosmetics. Therefore, also though one has not uncovered art’s “hid” cause, one might conclude the it is not organic beauty, yet cunning and also conceit. She is not entirely as sweet as she appears; she beauty is hollow and not “sound.”


“Give me a look, provide me a face/ That makes simplicity a grace” is a kind of rationalist motto. It means that the singer prefers a mrs whose face and also figure (“look” may refer to exactly how she watch overall) space pleasing in themselves. Simplicity is specifically the the opposite of artifice and implies a lack of adornment. Elegant is used in a dual sense; it way “graceful,” however it is likewise a word for “virtue,” together in the cardinal virtues recommended by religion. So, simply as simplicity—a sense of straightforwardness and also lack of design, lack of a covert agenda—is a moral virtue, for this reason a straightforward face without makeup is graceful and lovely.

“Loosely flowing robes” space contrasted with clothes that are always (“still”) “neat.” The hair, rather than gift powdered and piled increase in a stylish coiffure, must hang loosened in “sweet neglect.” “Adulteries,” like many of the key terms in this song, additionally has two meanings: sex-related dishonesty and also adulteration. Literally, art or artifice in a woman’s assembly is other unnecessarily included to her natural beauty—an adulteration of she physical virtues. If “art” here refers to the good arts in general, then to use imaginative devices come hide the an essential situation is to do an adulteress of art. Although these “adulteries” the high fashion, makeup, and also dress may tempt a man’s attention (“they win mine eyes”), they perform not success his heart.


last Updated top top October 26, 2018, through aramuseum.org Editorial. Word Count: 442

Poems the express a sentiment, impression, or moment of contemplation are referred to as lyrical, i beg your pardon opposes them come narrative poetry, which speak a story. This poem, however, is accurate a lyric—that is, it is the words to a song. This need to be psychic in considering the kind of the poem. First, one should note the the lyric is perform by a fictitious character and also therefore is not straight the voice of the author. Clerimont sings this piece in the middle of a play about deceptive appearances when he has special knowledge that the object of the play’s attention, Epicne, is not really a young girl in ~ all, however a boy in disguise.

Lines i beg your pardon are broken in the middle by repetition alternative with lines which contain no caesura; the rate matches the framework of the melody. The 2nd stanza repeats exactly the sample of the first, with solid syntactic caesuras in currently 7, 9, and 12. In the an initial stanza, therefore, there is a distinct accent which picks up the words “neat,” “dressed,” “powdered,” and “perfumed” and also matches them with “not sweet” and “not sound.” The exact same pattern occurs again in the 2nd stanza: “look,” “face,” “flowing,” and also “free” match with “mine eyes” and also “my heart.” In the same way, “art’s hid causes” and “adulteries that art” space parallel in the track pattern. Such resonances, repetitions, and also echoes room characteristic of the genre that poetry called ballad or song. They happen naturally once words space well-matched v music. Just to think both stanzaically and melodically will create structures this strict.

What is strange to Jonson in this city is the plainness and also straightforwardness that the language—the seeming absence of an allegory or simile. “Still to it is in Neat,” prefer its layout of honesty and also directness, seems to stop the usual ornamental figures of speech and tropes that are the herbal tools of poetry. Every word have the right to be bring away literally, together if this song were simply prose that happened to have actually a meter and rhyme. The simplicity, however, is chin a poetic effect, one artifice. Many of the key words invite a twin reading—are, indeed, almost puns. For example, if words “art” is take away to mean not “artifice” yet the well arts such together poetry, climate “Still to be Neat” can be read in a second way as a poem about the writing of city itself. Climate the sartorial imagery becomes symbolism, not literal reference, and also the indigenous “adulteries” becomes a powerful statement around morality in aesthetics. “Eyes” come to be symbolic that superficial perceptions in which value and beauty are separated, vice versa, “heart” describes a more authentic response, implying a an ext authentic poetry.

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