Verse > Anthologies > William Stanley Braithwaite, ed. > The Book of Elizabethan Verse
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William Stanley Braithwaite, ed.  The Book of Elizabethan Verse.  1907.
 
Delight in Disorder
By Robert Herrick (1591–1674)
 
A SWEET 1 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        5
Enthrals the crimson stomacher:
A cuff neglectful, and thereby
Ribbons to flow confusedly:
A winning wave, deserving note,
In the tempestuous petticoat:        10
A careless shoe-string, in whose tie
I see a wild civility: 2
Do more bewitch me than when art
Is too precise in every part.
 
Note 1. Compare Ben Jonson’s song in The Silent Woman (note above), Still to be neat, still to be drest, imitated from one of the Basia of Johannes Boniforius. [back]
Note 2. Wild civility: Good manners, easiness. Milton has “civil-suited morn” (Il Penseroso, line 122); later Dryden, the “Sweet civilities of life.” (Grosart.) [back]
 
 
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