Nonfiction > Lionel Strachey, et al., eds. > The World’s Wit and Humor > Greek, Roman & Oriental
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The World’s Wit and Humor: An Encyclopedia in 15 Volumes.  1906.
Vol. XV: Greek—Roman—Oriental
 
Cosmetic Disguise
By Juvenal (c. 40–125)
 
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,        5
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.        10
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,        15
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!        20
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?
 
 
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