“Still to it is in Neat” is a song sung by the character Clerimont in one of Ben Jonson’s many successful and also highly praised comedies, Epicne: Or, The quiet Woman . Clerimont is a rowdy co-conspirator of teacher Dauphine Eugenie, a young male who is come inherit a fortune indigenous his self-centered...

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“Still to it is in Neat” is a song sung through the character Clerimont in one of Ben Jonson’s most successful and highly praised comedies, Epicne: Or, The silent Woman. Clerimont is a rowdy co-conspirator of sir Dauphine Eugenie, a young guy who is to inherit a fortune native his self-centered uncle, Morose. Morose, wishing to disinherit his nephew, marries Epicne, a young mrs whose future children, he plans, will receive his estate instead of Dauphine. In ~ the finish of the play, that transpires the Epicne is in reality a young man hired and trained by Dauphine because that the function of mam to Morose.

The song is in two stanzas of six lines each. Prefer the plot of the play, it concerns appearances which deserve to belie reality. The first stanza can be paraphrased as, “Lady, although because of cosmetics you space lovely on the surface, you may not it is in beautiful at every underneath.” The second stanza says, “I choose a woman whose surface is simple and unaffected, unadorned, however who is beloved within.” One key to knowledge the poem is to recognize that words “still” here really method “always” and also carries a concessive sense: “Still to be neat” could therefore be paraphrased. “Although you constantly appear neat.” “Neat,” “dressed,” “powdered,” and “perfumed” explain the cosmetics artifices to work by a woman in high culture to do herself beautiful to the eye of admiring, eligible men.

The “hid causes” that art can be either a natural, within beauty or merely cunning strategies of self-adornment. Due to the fact that the lady is always seen spanned with powder, perfumed, and clothed in fancy, closely arranged dress, that is to be presumed that she hesitates to show herself without the protecting artifice the cosmetics. Therefore, also though one has actually not found art’s “hid” cause, one might conclude that it is not natural beauty, yet cunning and conceit. She is not totally as sweet together she appears; she beauty is hollow and not “sound.”

“Give me a look, offer me a face/ That makes simplicity a grace” is a sort of rationalist motto. It method that the singer prefers a mrs whose face and figure (“look” might refer to exactly how she looks overall) are pleasing in themselves. Simplicity is specifically the opposite of artifice and implies a absence of adornment. Elegant is offered in a dual sense; it method “graceful,” however it is additionally a word because that “virtue,” together in the cardinal virtues recommended by religion. So, just as simplicity—a feeling of straightforwardness and lack the design, lack of a hidden agenda—is a ethical virtue, therefore a straightforward face there is no makeup is graceful and lovely.

“Loosely flow robes” space contrasted with apparel that are always (“still”) “neat.” The hair, rather than gift powdered and piled up in a stylish coiffure, must hang loosened in “sweet neglect.” “Adulteries,” like many of the vital terms in this song, additionally has 2 meanings: sex-related dishonesty and adulteration. Literally, arts or artifice in a woman’s assembly is miscellaneous unnecessarily included to her natural beauty—an adulteration of she physical virtues. If “art” below refers to the good arts in general, climate to use artistic devices come hide the basic situation is to do an adulteress the art. Although this “adulteries” of high fashion, makeup, and dress may tempt a man’s attention (“they strike mine eyes”), they perform not victory his heart.


Poems the express a sentiment, impression, or minute 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, the is the words to a song. This have to be mental in considering the type of the poem. First, one have to note the the lyric is performed by a fictitious character and therefore is not directly the voice of the author. Clerimont sings this piece in the midst of a play about deceptive appearances when he has special understanding that the object of the play’s attention, Epicne, is not really a young girl at all, but a young in disguise.

Lines which are broken in the middle by repetition alternating with lines i m sorry contain no caesura; the rhythm matches the structure of the melody. The 2nd stanza repeats specifically the sample of the first, with strong syntactic caesuras in currently 7, 9, and also 12. In the an initial stanza, therefore, there is a distinct accent which choose up the indigenous “neat,” “dressed,” “powdered,” and also “perfumed” and matches them through “not sweet” and also “not sound.” The very same pattern wake up again in the second stanza: “look,” “face,” “flowing,” and also “free” match with “mine eyes” and also “my heart.” In the very same way, “art’s hid causes” and also “adulteries that art” space parallel in the tune pattern. Together resonances, repetitions, and echoes room characteristic the the genre of poetry dubbed ballad or song. They occur naturally once words are well-matched v music. Just to think both stanzaically and melodically will produce structures this strict.

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What is strange to Jonson in this poem is the plainness and also straightforwardness that the language—the seeming lack of metaphor or simile. “Still to be Neat,” like its theme of honesty and directness, seems to protect against the usual ornamental figures of speech and tropes that space the natural tools of poetry. Every word can be bring away literally, as if this track were just prose that happened to have a meter and rhyme. The simplicity, however, is itself a poetic effect, an artifice. Many of the an essential words invite a dual reading—are, indeed, practically puns. Because that example, if words “art” is bring away to median not “artifice” however the good arts such together poetry, climate “Still to it is in Neat” might be check out in a second way as a poem around the composing of poetry itself. Then the sartorial imagery i do not care symbolism, not literal reference, and the indigenous “adulteries” i do not care a an effective statement around morality in aesthetics. “Eyes” come to be symbolic that superficial awareness in i beg your pardon value and beauty space separated, whereas “heart” refers to a an ext authentic response, implying a more authentic poetry.