Delight In Disorder

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
Enthrals the crimson stomacher;
A cuff neglectful, and thereby
Ribbons 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.

by Robert Herrick

Comments (1)

The form of Herrick's fine poem reflects its subject matter.Several end rhymes are errant and partial, e.g. thrown and destruction, there and stomacher. The opening couplet stating the theme rhymes fully, as does the concluding couplet. In between the poet gives specific examples of all that is out of kelter in woman's dress that delights him. This lends variety to the poem, and means that we are able to follow - and appreciate -his argument fully.