A Beautiful Young Nymph Going To Bed Poem by Jonathan Swift

A Beautiful Young Nymph Going To Bed

Rating: 3.2

Corinna, Pride of Drury-Lane,
For whom no Shepherd sighs in vain;
Never did Covent Garden boast
So bright a batter'd, strolling Toast;
No drunken Rake to pick her up,
No Cellar where on Tick to sup;
Returning at the Midnight Hour;
Four Stories climbing to her Bow'r;
Then, seated on a three-legg'd Chair,
Takes off her artificial Hair:
Now, picking out a Crystal Eye,
She wipes it clean, and lays it by.
Her Eye-Brows from a Mouse's Hide,
Stuck on with Art on either Side,
Pulls off with Care, and first displays 'em,
Then in a Play-Book smoothly lays 'em.
Now dextrously her Plumpers draws,
That serve to fill her hollow Jaws.
Untwists a Wire; and from her Gums
A Set of Teeth completely comes.
Pulls out the Rags contriv'd to prop
Her flabby Dugs and down they drop.
Proceeding on, the lovely Goddess
Unlaces next her Steel-Rib'd Bodice;
Which by the Operator's Skill,
Press down the Lumps, the Hollows fill,
Up hoes her Hand, and off she slips
The Bolsters that supply her Hips.
With gentlest Touch, she next explores
Her Shankers, Issues, running Sores,
Effects of many a sad Disaster;
And then to each applies a Plaster.
But must, before she goes to Bed,
Rub off the Daubs of White and Red;
And smooth the Furrows in her Front,
With greasy Paper stuck upon't.
She takes a Bolus e'er she sleeps;
And then between two Blankets creeps.
With pains of love tormented lies;
Or if she chance to close her Eyes,
Of Bridewell and the Compter dreams,
And feels the Lash, and faintly screams;
Or, by a faithless Bully drawn,
At some Hedge-Tavern lies in Pawn;
Or to Jamaica seems transported,
Alone, and by no Planter courted;
Or, near Fleet-Ditch's oozy Brinks,
Surrounded with a Hundred Stinks,
Belated, seems on watch to lie,
And snap some Cull passing by;
Or, struck with Fear, her Fancy runs
On Watchmen, Constables and Duns,
From whom she meets with frequent Rubs;
But, never from Religious Clubs;
Whose Favour she is sure to find,
Because she pays them all in Kind.
CORINNA wakes. A dreadful Sight!
Behold the Ruins of the Night!
A wicked Rat her Plaster stole,
Half eat, and dragged it to his Hole.
The Crystal Eye, alas, was miss'd;
And Puss had on her Plumpers piss'd.
A Pigeon pick'd her Issue-Peas;
And Shock her Tresses fill'd with Fleas.
The Nymph, tho' in this mangled Plight,
Must ev'ry Morn her Limbs unite.
But how shall I describe her Arts
To recollect the scatter'd Parts?
Or show the Anguish, Toil, and Pain,
Of gath'ring up herself again?
The bashful Muse will never bear
In such a Scene to interfere.
Corinna in the Morning dizen'd,
Who sees, will spew; who smells, be poison'd.

Submitted by Andrew Mayers

Kevin Straw 24 August 2012

What a filthy poem! It is larded thick with a stinking misogyny. There is no charity here, only the sniggering of a woman-hating little boy with talent but no heart. Some poems may be technically first class but indicative of a sick mind. It is of the same type as Swift's The Lady's Dressing Room. An equally obnoxious poem.

9 8 Reply
Merv Greenland 16 April 2020

...you seem to be an aficionado.

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Francisca Darko 24 August 2012

I actually like this poem. I think the words are witty and the sarcasm he ususes in such an offhand way makes it enjoyable to read. It describes a woman in his time but it can also describe a woman in our time and for that I think it's quite brilliant.

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Ss 30 October 2021

Sir can you please provide summary of this

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Carlos Echeverria 24 August 2012

It's a beautifully satirical poem, skewering society's grotesque disfigurement of women in pursuit of an ideal beauty.

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David Wood 08 December 2021

Wonderfully articulated 17th century poem. I wonder if it was based on personal observations, or even experience? ?

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Rosie Bourget 08 December 2021

This chosen poem is appropriate for the day. Great job.

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Sylvia Frances Chan 08 December 2021

The great English satyric writer of Irish birth, world famous for his Gulliver's Voyages, a thoroughly great satyric, as we can read in this hilarious poem.5 stars Great! Thank you Andrew for submitting this to the Poem Hunter Poem site.

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Sylvia Frances Chan 08 December 2021

Thank you so much, dear Andrew Mayers for submitting this poem to PoemHunter Poemsite.5 Stars full

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Chinedu Dike 27 August 2019

Well articulated and nicely brought forth with clarity of thought and mind. An insightful work of art.

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