Sappho’s Greasy Toilet Task

Sappho's Toilet

Rufa, whose eye quick-glancing o’er the park,

Attracts each light gay meteor of a spark,

Agrees as ill with Rufa studying Locke,

As Sappho’s diamonds with her dirty smock;

Or Sappho at her toilet’s greasy task,

With Sappho fragrant at an ev’ning Masque:

So morning insects that in muck begun,

Shine, buzz, and flyblow in the setting sun.


How soft is Silia! fearful to offend;

The frail one’s advocate, the weak one’s friend:

To her, Calista prov’d her conduct nice,

And good Simplicius asks of her advice.

Sudden, she storms! she raves! You tip the wink,

But spare your censure; Silia does not drink.

All eyes may see from what the change arose,

All eyes may see—a pimple on her nose.


Papillia, wedded to her doating spark,

Sighs for the shades—”How charming is a park!”

A park is purchas’d, but the fair he sees

All bath’d in tears—”Oh, odious, odious trees!”

from:  To a Lady on the Characters of Women  by Alexander Pope

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