Like Thoreau and the waterlily, Beerbohm uses a descriptive metaphor at the end of "A Defence of Cosmetics," writing in the second to last paragraph:

The white cliffs of Albion shall be round to powder for their loveliness, and perfumed by the ghosts of many a little violet. The fluffy eider-ducks, that are swimming round the pond, shall lose their feathers, that the powder-puff may be moonlike as it passes over Loveliness' lovely face. Even the camels shall become ministers of delight, giving m any tufts of their hair to be stained in her splendid colour-box. And across her cheek the swift hare's foot shall fly as of old. The sea shall offer her the phuchus, its scarlet weed. We shall spill the blood of mulberries at her doing.

But upon further thought, is this actually a descriptive metaphor? Or is it merely a descriptive passage? Is this yet another example of Beerbohm employing sage-like technique? Can we compare and contrast this passage with the white waterlily passage from Thoreau? If so, does it serve the same function of visionary promise?


Victorian Web Overview Aesthetes & Decadents Max Beerbohm

Last modified: 12 March 2001