15 September 2016

Poetry Thursday - Upon Julia's Clothes by Robert Herrick

Edmund de Waal, Covered Jar (via)

Upon Julia's Clothes

Whenas in silks my Julia goes,   
Then, methinks, how sweetly flows   
The liquefaction of her clothes!   
Next, when I cast mine eyes and see   
That brave vibration each way free,
—O how that glittering taketh me!
Robert Herrick (1591-1674)

This analysis brings out the fishing motifs in the poem. "The sestet is therefore not so much about love-longing as it is about confusion and ambivalence toward women, toward sex and toward sexuality. Julia's clothes captivate the poet, yes, but he's a poor fish, unwillingly enthralled.
"Would it be possible to guess, strictly on the basis of this poem, that the author was a clergyman and a lifelong bachelor?"
In The White Road, Edmund de Waal quotes the first verse in relation to glazing of porcelains - "glaze is the clothing for the clay body". "Think of a glaze covering a body," he writes. "The fit is couture, neither a sense of constriction, nor one of too much latitude, just easy movement."

De Waal goes on to dwell briefly on possible problems with pots and glazes: lopsidedness, distortion, fissures, fragments of adherent clay; running of glaze, pinholing, rivulates of arrested glaze, scaling off. 

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