Still to be neat - Ben Jonson


Still to be neat, still to be dressed

As you were going to a feast [Dance/ball]

[She is dressed so elegantly even when she is not going to a party]

Still to be powdered, still to be perfumed

[She has so much make up on, and she has a strong aroma]

Lady, it is to be presumed, [supposed]

Though artís hid causes are not found

[Art refers to the cosmetics on her face and they hide something]

All is not sweet, all is not sound

[If she wears this much makeup then she is hiding something, whether it was physical flaws or personality ones. ]


Give me a look, give me a face

That makes simplicity a grace

[Guys prefer the natural look, and he says that is the natural elegance]

Robes loosely flowing, hair as free

[He says she should wear comfortable loose clothes and leave her hair naturally down]

Such sweet neglect more taketh me

[Sweet: innocent, neglect: abandon the cosmetics, taketh: takes. In other words, leave the fake make-up; it is more appealing to me if you were without it]

Than all thí adulteries of art

[Adulteries: something that makes something bad out of something good.]

They strike mine eyes, but not my heart.



Subject: The woman in his life


Theme: Beauty and deception, The Fake art.


Tone: criticizing, disapproving, rebuking.


Speaker: Someone that is jealous, that cares


Poet: Ben Jonson


A little Description of the poem: The writer probably has a girlfriend or something that is very beautiful yet she puts so much cosmetics on that her facial character probably changes. It probably drives him insane because she sounds like she likes to take care of herself, like dress elegantly while she was in the house and he probably wonders about the reason she does it. So in the end he tells her that simplicity and naturalism is  the way to go.


Style of poem: 2 versus, 6 rhyming lines in each. Rhyming scheme is a,a,b,b,c,c,d,d,e,e,f,f 


Meaning behind the poem:

1-     Level 1: disapproving of his girlfriend

2-     Level 2: disapproving of all woman

3-     Level 3: beauty is only skin deep

4-     Level 4: art itself is a cheap copy [Plato]