In what ways do the poems "Delight in Disorder" and "Upon Julia's Clothes" state aesthetic ideals?

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accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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I would argue that both of these poems state aesthetic ideas in their focus on the way in which the beauty of the subject of the poem impacts the speaker. In summary, "Delight in Disorder" is a poem that is about the way in which the unkempt nature of the subject of the poem is more mesmerising than absolute perfection. Consider the following example:

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.

The speaker finds more beauty in "wild civility" than he does in "precise... art" where there are no errors. Clearly this poem focuses on, as the title suggests, the way that there can be great beauty in "disorder."

We can see the same emphasis on beauty and appearance in "Upon Julia's Clothes," as the simple sight of watching Julia walk produces a singular effect on the speaker as he is overwhelmed by her beauty and grace:

Next, when I cast mine eyes and see
That brave vibration each way free ;
O how that glittering taketh me !

Having extolled the "liquefaction of her clothes" as Julia walks, now the speaker is literally entranced by the "glittering" as she moves. Both poems, therefore, focus on beauty and its presentation in the form of women and how this beauty impacts the speaker.


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