Study Guide

Upon Julia's Clothes

Upon Julia's Clothes Summary

A speaker marvels at a woman's clothes. She looks like a million bucks. And there you have it, folks.

  • Stanza 1

    Line 1

    Whenas in silks my Julia goes,

    • The poem opens with the speaker about to describe what happens when ("whenas") Julia wears silk. Good things, we hope.
    • To go in silks means to wear silks, or to pass by wearing silks.
    • We don't know who Julia is, but we know she's got fancy taste in clothes. After all, silk doesn't come cheap. 
    • Let's read on to get the scoop on this well-dressed lady.
    • Can you guys spot any meter here? Whenas in silks my Julia goes. We've got an unstressed syllable, followed by a stressed one, and that pattern repeats four times. That's a little thing we here at Shmoop like to call iambic tetrameter. Keep your eye out for more tetrameter, and be sure to check out our "Form and Meter" section for the lowdown on what it's doing here.

    Lines 2-3

    Then, then, methinks, how sweetly flows
    That liquefaction of her clothes.

    • Methinks just means it seems to me. Use it when you're feelin' fancy. (Methinks I'll imbibe a spot of tea!)
    • Liquefaction means becoming liquid. Sounds sciencey, right?
    • So apparently this Julia's clothes are liquefying before our speaker's very eyes?
    • We're thinking this is not literal. Although it would be awesome if Julia had some Alex Mack superpowers
    • Nah, we bet that the speaker is just saying that it seems to him like Julia's clothes flow like some kind of liquid when she passes by. It's a metaphor, folks.
    • Note the rhyme, Shmoopers. We've got goes, flows, and clothes. So far, that means our rhyme scheme is the ever-complex AAA. 
  • Stanza 2

    Lines 4-6

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

    • This poem's all Julia, all the time. The second stanza deals with—you guessed it—this lady and her threads.
    • The speaker tells us that when he looks ("cast mine eyes") at the vibration, the glittering moves ("taketh") him.
    • Of course we can't be sure what he's talking about when he says "vibration," but our best guess is that he's referring to the way her clothes shake and shimmer as she moves. 
    • Mine here is just another, old fashioned way of saying my, and free means being able to move in any direction. 
    • Taketh me means something like moves me or captivates me, like when we say, "the teacher was very taken with you." That means you've really got the teacher's attention.
    • So, to paraphrase, our speaker is saying that when he looks at Julia, and sees how her clothes shimmer as she moves, he's totally mesmerized. She's so very pretty. 
    • Note how the speaker describes Julia's clothes in three different and strange ways: as a liquid, as a vibration, and as a glittering. These clothes seem much more than your average garments. They almost have a life of their own. 
    • What's the deal with this speaker and Julia's outfit? Why's he so obsessed?
    • Oh, and before we forget: this stanza follows the same all-too fascinating rhyming pattern of the first stanza, making the entire poem's rhyme scheme, AAA BBB.