Here alum flower to stop the steams,
Exhaled from sour unsavory streams,

from Jonathan Swift – The Lady's Dressing Room on Rap Genius


“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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