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Robert Herrick's Delight in Disorder" is one of the notable and famous  lyric poems of English literature. It has attracted the heart of the readers for its lyrical quality. The poem, being very melodious, is delightful to read. This beautiful poem is taken from the collection of lyrics "Hesperides" published in 1648, the only published volume of poems by Robert Herrick.This article discuss on critical appreciation of "Delight in Disorder "
critical appreciation of delight in disorder

"Delight in Disorder" captures the poet's attitude towards his be- loved. The gist of the poem is that the poet/narrator finds his be- loved who has dressed carelessly more attractive and bewitching than when she dresses very correctly. In the poem, the poet says that he finds delight in disorder. Instead of arousing anger and frustration, disorder provokes in him ecstasy of happiness and satisfaction. This theme of disorder or finding delight in disorder is developed throughout the poem.

This short but exquisite lyric is a charming salute to imperfection and "sweet disorder The poet describes in detail what he means by disorder as well as why this disorder causes pleasure and entertainment for him. At the very outset of the poem Herrick introduces his theme- finding delight and pleasure in disorder. In the second line, the poet makes his point pretty clear why he derives delight from disorder.  The speaker sees the clothing as indicative of his beloved's personality.The  idea that imperfections and inconsistencies can enhance the appeal of a person is introduced in the opening couplet. The poet finds delight in his beloved's whimsical way of choosing clothes and dressing herself as it exhibits her wanton personality. The individualism of his beloved is evident in her style of dressing herself. In the opening couplet Herrick is essentially describing the relationship between a woman's disorderly clothing -"A sweet disorder in her dress" and how it causes his attrac-tion for her-Kindles in clothes a wantonness". In the remaining of the  poem the poet describes in detail the disorderliness of her dress.

After the opening couplet Herrick goes on to describe the disorderliness of her beloved, which is a source of delight for him. In the poem,the  poet describes the out of place clothes of his beloved. Herrick chooses a number of adjectives like "erring," "neglectful,"  "confusedly,"  "tempestuous" and "careless" to describe the lack of attention by his beloved to the various articles of her dress. Herrick starts with a lawn that is  carelessly put on her shoulders. The lawn, a piece of fine linen, is flung carelessly on her shoulders but for the poet it is a source of immense delight and entertainment. This becomes for the poet a 'fine distraction'. Then the poet talks about an 'erring lace' which turns the crimson stomacher into an enthralling object of beauty.

The poet portrays his lady as having 'A cuff neglectful', Ribbons to flow confusedly,'  'tempestuous petticoat' and A careless shoe string', All these out of order clothes make the woman's dress unique and intriguing to her lover. The poet or the speaker of the poem sees the clothing as having a will of its own that makes the outfit more bewitching. The poet is infatuated by the wayward clothing of his beloved which increases his passion for her and he sees in her dress a "wild civility".

She has worn every article of her dress carelessly, however it is this complete lack of attention to her dress which makes her look very at- tractive and "bewitches" the lover all the more. In the closing couplet of the poem the poet gives his final statement. He makes it clear that to him the lady in disorderly clothes is more beautiful than she is in precise attire. Herrick is stating that this woman is more captivating in all her turmoil and anarchy, than any perfectly painted piece of artwork :

Do more bewitch me than when art Is too precise in every part."
In general sense, wild and disorderly things cannot be pleasant. But to the poet, who is being intoxicated by the passion of love his beloved's wild' way of dressing herself is a source of pleasure for him.He is amused because his beloved is more bewitching and captivating in her wayward dress. However, Herrick does not find delight in any dis- order. It is only the disorderly clothes of her beloved that bring joy  and happiness for the poet. For Herrick 'disorder' has a special meaning. The poet has a penetrating insight and he understands that the outward disorder of his beloved refers to her uncommon personality.

Herrick has portrayed his beloved in a completely unconventional way. He does not devote time to describe the physical beauty of his be- loved. He gives a detailed description of the articles of clothes his be- loved has put on. What is remarkable is that the articles of her dress are put in a disorderly and careless manner. Herrick chooses a number of adjectives like "erring," "neglectful, "confusedly." "tempestuous" and careless" to describe the various art confusedly." "tempestuous" and careless" to describe the various articles of her dress. These adjectives are generally used with negative connotations, but they attain special meaning in the context of the poem. Herrick like this unusual fashion. Herrick's purpose is not to criticize his lady but to eulogize her.For the poet, clothes stand for the personality of the lady. The individualism of his beloved is evident in her style of dressing herself. He has presented the lady as a Renaissance personality who, instead of following norms set by a traditional society, loves to follow her own will. She is the lady who has broken the shackles of bondage.

"Delight in Disorder" is a love poem. The poem answers the question how a man filled with passionate love can derive delight from dis- order. It is his choice of extra ordinary concept of beauty that attracted him to her disorderly dresses. Herrick, being filled with love, sees no flaw in his beloved, rather he finds in every aspect of her lady, even when she is in complete disorder. The lady had not followed the grammar of dressing scrupulously. There are signs of disorder in her dress. A person not intoxicated by love might have found many signs of whimsicalness in her dress. But the poet sees in her dress a sign of 'wild civility'. The poet is delighted at having discovered this originality in her. The poet's love for his beloved is at the extreme. It is boundless and life-giving.It has transforming quality.

"Delight in Disorder" is a delightful lyric. It has all the lyrical qualities. It gives vent to the emotions and personal thoughts of the poet. Written in plain and simple language, the poem has its special appeal because of its lucidity as well as simplicity of expression. However, Herrick shows his genius in using simple language. His sentences are  pregnant with meaning as they defy traditional norms and beliefs. In addition, the poem is well structured. The meter is mainly dactylic quatrameter, and the rhyme scheme is seven pairs of rhyming lines. The tone of the poem is light, nonchalant, and quick, partly from the rhyme scheme and meter, and also from diction. Herrick uses alliteration and consonance to add whimsy as well as musical effect; pairings such as "winning wave." shoestring." and Kindles in clothes" sound playful and happy. Long, jumbled words also add to a feeling of blissful disorder, with words like "tempestuous petticoat, "wantonness". and crim- son stomacher."

In order to achieve structural balance Herrick has employed a number of techniques in this beautiful lyric. He has presented his subject- matter in seven couplets, making the piece a fourteen-line poem. With a few exceptions he has given eight syllables in each line. The poet has used parallel structure at the beginning of third, fifth, seventh, ninth and eleventh lines. Each of these lines begins with an indefinite article followed by a noun or an adjective-noun combination: a lawn, an erring lace, a cuff neglectful, a winning wave, and a careless shoestring.In addition, he has written the opening as well as the closing couplet with exactly rhyming final syllables : ''-ess' in the opening couplet and 'art' and '-art' in the closing couplet.

Herrick's use of oxymoron is wonderful and praiseworthy.The  oxymoronic phrase "swet disorder" at the very outset directly shows the author's appreciation of the woman's way ward clothing. The most powerful oxymoron in the poem is 'wild civility'. These two seemingly orposing words justaposed together denote both pleasantness and wild- ness. In general sense, wild and disorderly things cannot be pleasant. But to the lover poet, who is being intoxicated by the passion of love, his beloved's wild' way of dressing herself is a source of pleasure for him.He is amused because his beloved is more bewitching and captivat- ing in her wayward dress.

The poet also uses inversion in order to impart a pleasing poetic ring to the poem. In line three, he says "A lawn about the shoulders thrown "instead of saying "A lawn thrown about the shoulders". Again, in line seven, instead of writing 'a neglectful cuff'  the poet writes 'a cuff neglectful'. Herrick has also deliberately inserted technical imperfections in  order to create "sweet disorder". The inconsistency in the end rhyme  is noticeable. Lines 1 and 2 end with corresponding sounds, as do lines 9 and 10 and lines 13 and 14. But the other pairs of lines contain only approximate rhymes. The metric pattern of eight syllables per line goes awry in line 4 (unless one pronounces distraction as distracsheun) and line 10. As a poet. Herrick enjoyed a reputation as a master craftsman. He well understood that there are times when rules need to be broken.

Herrick's "Delight in Disorder" is a wonderful specimen of lyric poetry. The poem is just an expression of a subjective feeling. Though highly emotional, the poet has maintained unity of thought as well as feeling. It is Herrick's "Delight in Disorder" is a wonderful specimen of lyric poetry. The poem is just an expression of a subjective feeling. Though highly emotional, the poet has maintained unity of thought as well as feeling. It is endowed with all the musical and lyrical qualities. By em- ploying a number of poetic techniques Herrick has made the poem memorable one.


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