Here alum flower to stop the steams,
Exhaled from sour unsavory streams,
“Horses sweat, gentlemen perspire, ladies glow.” But this lady sweats like none other. Swift is comparing her bodily exhalations to the steam off a foul river.
“Alum flower,” a.k.a. powdered alum, was used as an antiperspirant. (Courtesy Jack Lynch)
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