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    • Thread Starter

    Hi guys!

    I need urgent help with a poem by Ben Jonson. I am from Germany so my native language isn't english and I don't really get some of the sentences of the poem! I would really appreciate it if someone could paraphrase or put this poem into simple english. if you have an analysis or interpretation of this peom or know a good websites where I could find something on this poem please share it with me. Sentences with an * I don't get at all.

    Your help is much appreciated!

    Before I forget, the poem:

    Still to be neat, still to be dressed,
    As you were going to a feast;
    Still to be powdered, 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 the adulteries of art; *
    They strike mine eyes, but not my heart.


    The first stanza describes how the ladies formal appearance is false (her clothes, her make up and perfume) and makes him feel that there is something unattractive or dirty about her(last line) -although he cant see what it is (last but one line).
    In the second stanza he describes how he would prefer to see her looking natural - "all the adulteries of art" ,he means the false things that have been added to make her more attractive, may make her look more attractive but do not make him love her.
    Its a very difficult poem to give to someone who is not a native speaker!

    He's presenting the woman as a work of art (metaphor?). She is still and inanimate (doesn't move) just like a painting. She doesn't move to give the impression she is a lady too. (*- he doesn't know her but she looks like a lady).

    **- Though art's hid causes are not found - even though art has to be studied to be...appreciated, he can't find anything in her, she's shallow and one-dimensional.

    "All is not sweet, all is not sound" Unlike a painting, its not pretty and nice to look at, something is wrong.

    Give me a look, give me a face, *** - Show him she's real, that she's interested in him and not so prude and motionless.

    Such sweet neglect more taketh me
    Than all the adulteries of art; ****
    They strike mine eyes, but not my heart.

    He enjoys just looking at her, even though he wants her to look at him and show him she's interested. ****- all the bad things about art (the flat, deceivingly beautiful pictures) that are a let down because they're not like reality.

    Last line - she's good to look at, but he doesn't feel anything for her.

    That's about it. There's probably others with more ability than me here...
    • Thread Starter

    thanks a lot for your help! it really helped me!

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