Jonathan Swift

(30 November 1667 – 19 October 1745 / Dublin)

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A Beautiful Young Nymph Going To Bed


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

Submitted: Monday, January 13, 2003

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  • Sjana Tait (8/24/2013 2:28:00 AM)

    And that's why you got her pregnant 6 times...dnt worry its our little secret ;) Gz up & so is ur son, welp gotta go (Report) Reply

  • Francisca Darko (8/24/2012 5:11:00 PM)

    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. (Report) Reply

  • Carlos Echeverria (8/24/2012 3:40:00 PM)

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

  • Kevin Straw (8/24/2012 10:22:00 AM)

    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. (Report) Reply

  • Ramesh T A (8/24/2011 1:09:00 PM)

    Life of a luxurious lady is well described by the famous satirist Jonathan Swift! Is it a criticism or just a description? He only knows! (Report) Reply

  • Pranab K Chakraborty (8/24/2011 2:10:00 AM)

    No, sorry, please think of the different parts of beauty, gathering which nature becomes beautiful. A canvass, partly does not bring pleasure, but after finishing by a painter it becomes a piece of beauty. Just Corrina, the story of making oneself platable for business world is a material part of meaning but at the same time the agony beneath the shadow of artificial temporariness of our existence reflects intensely through the spirit of writing. Beauty meets a point of unification otherwise ugliness will dominate the whole. Never it can't be. A man, always try to display himself by so many diformities, separately all the things are very ridiculous but as a whole it becomes a matter of beauty. Nice work to demonstrate our helplessness on the surface. Very small we are, but always try to impose ourselves as the creator of the universe gathering so many dirts from existing society to our personality (Report) Reply

  • Claire Hastie (8/24/2009 4:11:00 PM)

    Ha ha, it could have been written about all the fake woman there are today...fake hair, fake boobs, fake teeth, fake nose, etc, etc (Report) Reply

  • Michael Pruchnicki (8/24/2009 11:29:00 AM)

    Here we go again! All the way from the guy who 'looks' (reads?) Titus Andronicus to the resident expert who has to google for certitude! The humor and genius of the poem about Corinna the beautiful young nymph preparing for bed goes all the way back to Shakespeare's sonnets about his dark lady. Way past Family Guy and stuff like that, though both the creator of Guy and Swift share a common attitude about women, especially the drabs who frequent street corners and doorways from London to Los Angeles! (Report) Reply

  • Steven S (8/24/2009 8:34:00 AM)

    The genius of Swift... seems he knew a girl the opposite of my Jenna. (Report) Reply

  • Kevin Straw (8/24/2009 5:43:00 AM)

    What a brilliant but unpleasant poem. I can see this in Family Guy - one of those surreal backflashes that Peter has perhaps. The surgical nastiness with which Swift unmakes his beautiful woman is mysogynistic. I do not know but I would wager Swift had a bad experience with a woman. Did he get the pox? I shall have to google! (Report) Reply

  • James Niles (8/24/2007 10:56:00 AM)

    I was looking at Titus Andronicus and wondering whether the Elizabethans would give it an 'R' rating. Starting the morning with a belly laugh is probably healthy, and it's reassuring to know that sveldt raucous humor(humour) existed in the 18th Century. It's also good to know that the girls walking on Streets like Western Ave in LA,8th St in NY (Giulani moved them a couple of blocks away from Times Square, so Disney could move Lindsay Lohan in-another fabulous role model. The way she's gettin' plastered, she'll need more than a bandaid.) or Drury Lane (? Where in London are they now?) , haven't changed a bit. (Report) Reply

  • Marilyn Lott (8/24/2007 9:02:00 AM)

    Oh how I love this poem! He fits it all into perfect comparisons - a ship and a beautiful but not flawless woman? He loves her in spite of her flaws. What a great poem - I will read more of his work. (Report) Reply

Read all 15 comments »

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