1648 | Devonshire

A Wild Civility

Erring lace and tempestuous petticoats.

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
Ribbons to flow confusedly;
A winning wave, deserving note,
In the tempestuous petticoat;
A careless shoestring, in whose tie
I see a wild civility;
Do more bewitch me than when art
Is too precise in every part.


Robert Herrick

“Delight in Disorder.” Born in 1591 in London, Herrick left the family goldsmith business at twenty-two to attend St. John’s College in Cambridge. In 1629 he became a vicar in rural Devonshire, but because of his Royalist sympathies, he was forced to return to London after the Great Rebellion. His only poetry collection, Hesperides; or the Works Both Humane and Divine of Robert Herrick Esq., was published in 1648 and included more than 1,400 poems. Upon the restoration of Charles II, Herrick returned to his vicarage and remained there until his death in 1674.