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Tuesday, 13 October 2020

Thing To Be Today: tousled.

 A sweet disorder in the dress, 

Kindles in clothes a wantonness...

says the poet Robert Herrick (1591 - 1674).

I was going to write about this sweet disorder, about tousled charm, but now I've suddenly realised that Herrick said it all centuries ago, and much better than I can.

His poem is called 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 therby

Ribands 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.


Herrick was caught up in the English Civil War. He fought for the King and against the Puritan Parliament, so his poem may be saying things about politics as well as clothes and ladies.

I hope you get a chance to feel the wind in your hair.

Thing to Be Today: tousled. The first syllable of this word rhymes with how. The word comes from the Low German tūsen, to shake, from the Old High German zirzūsōn, to tear to pieces.




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