Ben Jonson


The following is by Shakespeare's contemporary, Ben Jonson. (Note the spelling of his name.) It's dated 1609. The title refers to a Latin poem by Horace. It might be translated as "so trim, so simple" or "plain in thy elegance." Often the poem is just known by its first line.


Simplex Munditiis

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.



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