Upon Julia’s Clothes by Robert Herrick – Summary and Questions

Upon Julia’s Clothes by Robert Herrick

Question Answers

1. What is the tone of the first stanza? Explain your answer.
The first stanza has a tone of objectivity and detachment. The speaker seems to simply be describing Julia’s clothes.

2. What does “my” in the poem’s first line reveal about the speaker?
The speaker says, “my Julia,” suggesting that she is his possession.

3. What is ironic about the poem’s concluding line?
The speaker concludes by admitting that he is enraptured with Julia. It is ironic when considering the poem’s first line, wherein he claims she is his possession. In reality, she possesses him.

4. What effect, if any, do the long vowel sounds in the poem’s second line, “sweetly flows,” have on the poem’s meaning?
Answers may vary. Example: The long vowel sounds reflect the smooth, fluid movement of the dress. Their length also may symbolize the speaker’s infatuation with Julia.

5. Why do you think Herrick repeats “then” in the second line of the poem?
The repetition of the word suggests that the speaker is entranced and that he had to pause to catch what he was saying. It may also reflect his overwhelming desire to rekindle the moment he is recalling.

6. What does the author mean by “the liquefaction of her clothes?”
Answers may vary. Example: The author may be referring to the liquid-like movement of her clothes on her body. Alternately, he may be referring to his desire to see these clothes become like liquid and melt away.

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