Herrick

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
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.


Upon Julia’s Clothes

When as in silks my Julia goes,
Then, then (me thinks) how sweetly flows
That liquefaction of her clothes. Next, when I cast mine eyes, and see
That brave Vibration each way free;
O how that glittering taketh me!


To His Conscience

Can I not sin, but thou wilt be
My private protonotary?
Can I not woo thee to pass by
A short and sweet iniquity?
I’ll cast a mist and cloud upon
My delicate transgression,
So utter dark as that no eye
Shall see the hugg’d impiety.
Gifts blind the wise, and bribes do please,
And wind all other witnesses;
And wilt not thou with gold be tied
To lay thy pen and ink aside,
That in the murk and tongueless night
Wanton I may, and thou not write?
It will not be; and therefore, now,
For times to come I’ll make this vow,
From aberrations to live free,
So I’ll not fear the Judge, or thee.

 


His Prayer for Absolution

 

For those my unbaptized rhymes,
Writ in my wild unhallowed times,
For every sentence, clause, and word,
That’s not inlaid with Thee, my Lord,
Forgive me, God, and blot each line
Out of my book, that is not Thine.
But if, ‘mongst all, Thou find’st here one
Worthy thy benediction,
That one of all the rest shall be
The glory of my work, and me. –Robert Herrick


Note: “Distraction,” “transgression,” and “benediction” can be considered four-syllable words in the above poems and pronounced as such.