Careful Words

perfume (n.)

perfume (v.)

A violet in the youth of primy nature,

Forward, not permanent, sweet, not lasting,

The perfume and suppliance of a minute.

William Shakespeare (1564-1616): Hamlet. Act i. Sc. 3.

To gild refined gold, to paint the lily,

To throw a perfume on the violet,

To smooth the ice, or add another hue

Unto the rainbow, or with taper-light

To seek the beauteous eye of heaven to garnish,

Is wasteful and ridiculous excess.

William Shakespeare (1564-1616): King John. Act iv. Sc. 2.

I cannot talk with civet in the room,

A fine puss-gentleman that's all perfume.

William Cowper (1731-1800): Conversation. Line 283.

But who is this, what thing of sea or land,—

Female of sex it seems,—

That so bedeck'd, ornate, and gay,

Comes this way sailing

Like a stately ship

Of Tarsus, bound for th' isles

Of Javan or Gadire,

With all her bravery on, and tackle trim,

Sails fill'd, and streamers waving,

Courted by all the winds that hold them play,

An amber scent of odorous perfume

Her harbinger?

John Milton (1608-1674): Samson Agonistes. Line 710.