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The World’s Wit and Humor: An Encyclopedia in 15 Volumes. 1906.

Juvenal (c. 40–125)

Cosmetic Disguise

From “Satires

A WOMAN stops at nothing when she wears

Rich emeralds round her neck, and in her ears

Pearls of enormous size; these justify

Her faults, and make all lawful in her eye.

Sure, of all ills with which mankind are cursed,

A wife who brings you money is the worst.

Behold! her face a spectacle appears,

Bloated, and foul, and plastered to the ears

With viscous paste. The husband looks askew,

And sticks his lips in this detested glue.

She meets the adulterer bathed, perfumed, and dressed,

But rots in filth at home, a very pest!

For him she breathes of nard; for him alone

She makes the sweets of Araby her own;

For him, at length, she ventures to uncase,

Scales the first layer of roughcast from her face,

And, while the maids to know her now begin,

Clears, with that precious milk, her muddy skin,

For which, though exiled to the frozen main,

She’d lead a drove of asses in her train!

But tell me now: this thing, thus daubed and oiled,

Thus poulticed, plastered, baked by turns and boiled,

Thus with pomatums, ointments, lacquered o’er—

Is it a face, pray tell me, or a sore?