'Upon Julia's Clothes' by Robert Herrick

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Upon Julia's Clothes

Whenas in silks my Julia goes,
Then, then, methinks, how sweetly flows
That liquefaction of her clothes!

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

Editor 1 Interpretation

Upon Julia's Clothes by Robert Herrick

Oh, what a delight it is to read and dwell upon Robert Herrick's Upon Julia's Clothes! A timeless piece of poetry that not only captures the beauty of a beloved, but also the essence of femininity and elegance. In this literary criticism and interpretation, we will explore the themes, symbols, and literary devices that make this poem a true masterpiece.

Background Information

Robert Herrick was a 17th-century English poet and clergyman, known for his lyrical and sensual poetry. Upon Julia's Clothes was published in 1648 in his collection of poems, Hesperides. The poem is part of Herrick's series of poems dedicated to Julia, a fictional character that represents different aspects of female beauty and sensuality. Upon Julia's Clothes is perhaps the most famous of these poems and has been widely anthologized and studied.



The central theme of Upon Julia's Clothes is the beauty and allure of a woman's clothing. The speaker of the poem is captivated by Julia's garments, which he describes in vivid detail. The poem celebrates the elegance, grace, and femininity that clothing can embody, as well as the way in which clothing can enhance a woman's beauty and charm.

Another theme that emerges from the poem is the transience of beauty. The speaker comments on how Julia's clothes will eventually wear out and fade, but also suggests that their beauty will last even after they are gone. This theme is further reinforced by the literary device of the conceit, which compares Julia's clothes to the beauty of nature and the passing of the seasons.


The clothing that Julia wears is the most prominent symbol in the poem. The speaker describes her clothing in great detail, highlighting its texture, color, and form. The clothes are symbols of femininity, elegance, and beauty, and they also represent the fleeting nature of youth and beauty. The speaker recognizes that Julia's clothes will eventually wear out and fade, just as all things in life are impermanent. However, the beauty of the clothes will live on in memory, just as the beauty of youth and love can be eternalized in art and poetry.

The clothing is also symbolic of Julia herself, as it is an extension of her personality and beauty. The clothes reflect her taste, style, and character, and they enhance her natural charm and grace. The poem celebrates the symbiotic relationship between the clothing and the woman, showing how they complement and enhance each other.

Literary Devices

The use of literary devices in Upon Julia's Clothes is masterful, and it adds depth and complexity to the poem. One of the most prominent devices is the use of conceit, which is a literary comparison between two seemingly dissimilar things. The conceit in this poem compares Julia's clothes to the beauty of nature and the changing of the seasons. The speaker notes how Julia's clothes are "new-spangled o'er with stars" and "like to rich and various gems." These comparisons evoke the beauty and wonder of nature, and they suggest that Julia's clothing is just as awe-inspiring as the natural world.

The use of imagery is also notable in this poem. The speaker paints a rich and detailed picture of Julia's clothing, using vivid descriptions and sensory language. He describes the clothes as "soft and sweet" and "silken, smooth, and proper." These descriptions create a sense of tactile and visual beauty, and they help to bring the poem to life.

The poem also uses repetition and rhyme to create a musical and rhythmic effect. The repetition of the phrase "upon Julia's clothes" at the beginning of each stanza creates a sense of continuity and unity, while the rhyme scheme (ABAB) adds a lyrical and melodic quality to the poem.


Upon Julia's Clothes can be interpreted in a number of ways, depending on the reader's perspective and experience. One interpretation is that the poem celebrates the beauty and allure of femininity, and it emphasizes the importance of clothing and adornment in enhancing a woman's natural charm and grace. The poem can also be seen as a commentary on the fleeting nature of beauty, and it suggests that even though beauty may fade, its memory can be preserved through art and poetry.

Another interpretation is that the poem is a celebration of the senses, and it evokes the tactile and visual beauty of clothing. The poem acknowledges the power of clothing to evoke desire and admiration, and it shows how the physical world can be a source of pleasure and joy.


Upon Julia's Clothes is a timeless and beautiful poem that celebrates the beauty and allure of clothing and femininity. Through the use of vivid imagery, rich symbolism, and masterful literary devices, Robert Herrick creates a work of art that is both sensual and profound. The poem reminds us of the transience of beauty and the importance of preserving its memory through art and poetry. Upon Julia's Clothes is a true masterpiece of English literature, and it continues to captivate and inspire readers to this day.

Editor 2 Analysis and Explanation

Poetry Upon Julia's Clothes: A Masterpiece of Sensuality and Beauty

Robert Herrick's "Poetry Upon Julia's Clothes" is a classic poem that has stood the test of time. It is a masterpiece of sensuality and beauty that captures the essence of a woman's allure through her clothing. The poem is a celebration of the female form and the power of clothing to enhance its beauty. In this article, we will explore the themes, imagery, and language used in the poem to understand its significance and impact.

The poem begins with a description of Julia's clothing, which is compared to the natural beauty of the world around her. Herrick writes, "Whenas in silks my Julia goes, / Then, then (methinks) how sweetly flows / That liquefaction of her clothes." The use of the word "liquefaction" is significant, as it suggests that Julia's clothing is not just a covering for her body, but a fluid extension of her beauty. The image of her clothing flowing around her is sensual and evocative, and it sets the tone for the rest of the poem.

Herrick goes on to describe the different elements of Julia's clothing, from her "gloves of the skin / Of a soft and supple kid" to her "shoes of the richest dye." Each item is described in detail, with a focus on its texture, color, and material. The language used is rich and descriptive, with words like "velvet," "satin," and "pearls" creating a sense of luxury and opulence. The use of these materials is significant, as they were often associated with wealth and status in Herrick's time. By describing Julia's clothing in such detail, Herrick is highlighting her beauty and the power of clothing to enhance it.

The poem also contains a number of references to classical mythology and literature. For example, Herrick compares Julia's hair to the "golden fleece" of Greek mythology, and her eyes to the "brightest stars" in the sky. These references serve to elevate Julia's beauty to a mythical level, suggesting that she is not just a mortal woman, but a goddess or muse. This is reinforced by the final lines of the poem, which describe Julia's clothing as a "robe more white than whitest lawn, / And makes a heaven there." The use of the word "heaven" is significant, as it suggests that Julia's clothing is not just beautiful, but divine.

One of the most striking aspects of the poem is its use of imagery. Herrick uses a range of sensory images to create a vivid picture of Julia and her clothing. For example, he describes her gloves as "soft and supple," her shoes as "richly dyed," and her hair as "golden." These images create a sense of texture and color that brings Julia's clothing to life. The use of sensory imagery is significant, as it allows the reader to experience Julia's beauty in a more visceral way.

Another important aspect of the poem is its use of language. Herrick's language is rich and poetic, with a focus on alliteration, rhyme, and meter. For example, he writes, "And makes a heaven there. / Nothing but fair / And spotless doth appear." The use of alliteration and rhyme creates a musical quality to the poem, which enhances its beauty and sensuality. The use of meter is also significant, as it creates a sense of rhythm and flow that mirrors the movement of Julia's clothing.

In conclusion, "Poetry Upon Julia's Clothes" is a masterpiece of sensuality and beauty that celebrates the power of clothing to enhance a woman's allure. Through its use of imagery, language, and classical references, the poem creates a vivid picture of Julia and her clothing that is both sensual and divine. It is a testament to Herrick's skill as a poet, and a reminder of the enduring power of beauty and desire.

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