Lucy Vickery

Changing fashions

In Competition No. 2975 you were invited to supply your own nine-line twist on Robert Herrick’s ‘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,
O how that glittering taketh me!

In a large and somewhat raucous entry, Herrick’s 17th-century restraint was cast aside in favour of full-on 21st-century vulgarity. Honourable mentions go to Basil Ransome-Davies, John Whitworth and Josh Ekroy. The winners, printed below, take £15 each.

Whenas in shorts my Julia plays
A set or two on summer days
I think of Herrick’s, who wore stays.
If in a skirt, it’s not that long
And struggles to conceal the thong
Unknown in Robert’s verse or song.
White hairless legs, below the knees?
With us, much more is viewed with ease
Than when he wrote Hesperides.
Jerome Betts
Whenas in jorts my Julia goes,
I note she’s sporting camel toes.
Whynot, I offer, change your clothes?
Then-at I cast my eyes and see
How-of she with her voice makes free,
Abjuring me as ‘one of those’,
Whilst popping me upon the nose.
Therefor, to bleach I’ve now consigned
The shirt that she incarnadined.
Frank Osen
Whenas in time my Julia grows
less lustrous than a dew-pearled rose
I’ll be the only one who knows.
For, while her unguents, paint and paste
applied with artistry and taste
may long conceal old age’s haste
I’ll do what timeless love entails
by doctoring her bathroom scales
to lie each day ’til Earth’s light fails.
Martin Parker
Whenas in style my Julia dines
She says ‘My perfect valentine’s
The one who buys me fancy wines,
The kind that make a girl go ape
And pray to God she won’t escape
The liquefaction of the grape.’
And so, to have a bon, bon soir
And end up in my love’s boudoir,
I buy her pricey pinot noir.

Already a subscriber? Log in

Keep reading with a free trial

Subscribe and get your first month of online and app access for free. After that it’s just £1 a week.

There’s no commitment, you can cancel any time.


Unlock more articles



Don't miss out

Join the conversation with other Spectator readers. Subscribe to leave a comment.

Already a subscriber? Log in