And you thought a nymph was a naturally lovely woodland creature. To be fair, so did we. But boy did Jonathan Swift prove us wrong.
|Author||Swift - Jonathan Swift|
|British Literature||18th-Century British Literature|
All British Literature
…we’re surprised the sun isn’t up by the time she’s under the covers.
This poem still holds up today, because it’s about timeless vanity, and the extreme lengths
many people will go to in order to achieve beauty.
Surprisingly, things haven’t changed that much since the 1700s.
As part of her nightly ritual, Swift’s subject removes her artificial hair at the end of
Today, some people wear hair extensions, everything from glued-in strands of real human hair to
a cheap, sewn-in polyester weave. While the modern gal dons fake eyelashes made
from mink fur…
…the classic nymph peels off eyebrows made from a mouse’s hide.
Not as sophisticated, but as long as she doesn’t dab on a beauty marks made from mouse droppings,
it’s not too bad. Ladies lacking in the bust department used
to use wadded-up rags to prop up… the girls.
Bosom technology is much more advanced today, ranging from push-up bras and chicken cutlets
for adding a little extra, all the way to implants.
Finally, if you have extra in all the wrong places, you used to need a small army of servants
to be roped into a steel-ribbed bodice.
Today, it’s as easy as pouring yourself into skin-tight Spanx, which transport your
fat to another dimension.
It’s likely that the 18th-century babe needed false teeth as an alternative to gumming her
corn on the cob.
Today, dental care is just as much about beauty as it is about health. Instead of false teeth,
we have veneers and UV-whitening.
Still, don’t go trying to open bottles with your chompers.
Whether it’s 18th-century or modern day, it takes a lot of extra work to achieve a
What was Swift trying to say about beauty with this poem?
Does it still apply today? Shmoop amongst yourselves.