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Delight In Disorder
Robert Herrick



A sweet disorder in the dress
Kindles in clothes a wantonness:
A lawn about the shoulders thrown
Into a fine distraction;
An erring lace, which here and there
Enthralls the crimson stomacher;
A cuff neglectful, and thereby
Ribbands to flow confusedly;
A winning wave (deserving note)
In the tempestuous petticoat;
A careless shoe-string, in whose tie
I see a wild civility;
Do more bewitch me, than when art
Is too precise in every part.

From Works of Robert Herrick, Volume I, Alfred Pollard, editor (London, Lawrence & Bullen, 1891).
This poem is in the public domain.



Robert Herrick (1591 - 1674) was a British poet who tried his hand first at goldsmithing, then at the priesthood, before embracing his poetic destination. Deposed as a Devonshire vicar because of his loyalty to King Charles, Herrick was reinstated in that position when the king regained his throne after England's civil war and remained a vicar until his death. But the poetry writing that Herrick began during that enforced sabbatical launched a lifelong avocation. Though he was not particularly popular during his lifetime, Herrick is today considered a respected and accomplished lyric poet. Ironically, though many of Herrick's poems offer up passionate testaments on love and ladies, he was a lifelong bachelor--apparently, not by choice. There are those who suspect the poet's inspiration was limited to wishful thinking and his imagination; if so, his imagination was quite good!


Post New Comment:
Ross Kightly:
I've always thought Herrick was up there right at the top, jostling with Marvell for first place in the 'Carpe Diem' race: 'Gather ye rosebuds while ye may...' v. 'Had we but world enough and time...' And he is so right about the necessity to accept imperfection and revere it! Great start to the day, thank you Jayne!
Posted 07/25/2014 03:14 AM
He clearly loved women. Perfection is so stiff and boring when humans try it. I hope he had at least one encounter with a 'disordered' lady. Great poem!
Posted 07/24/2014 09:37 AM
I love this guy and his poem. Perfect people unnerve me somehow, and this poem addresses this issue quite nicely!
Posted 07/24/2014 07:51 AM

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