A sweet disorder in the dress Kindles in clothes a wantonness; A lawn about the shoulders thrown Into a fine distraction; An erring lace, which here and there Enthrals the crimson stomacher; A cuff neglectful, and thereby Ribands to flow confusedly; A winning wave, deserving note, In the tempestuous petticoat; 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. (‘Delight in Disorder’ – Robert Herrick)
The Empire expanded, cess-pits were banned, water grew thick with steamships and sewage and the docks pushed east out into the marshes, breaking the horizon with a forest of cranes that unloaded meat, cloth, tobacco and grain from countries that my school atlas still colours pink. (‘River History’ – Lavinia Greenlaw)
Like a library in a dream or romance, Thomas Plume’s Library is reached via a stone spiral staircase. Low light and low ceilings, bookcases of solid oak, displays of ancient bindings, oil paintings with muted tones: a pocket of 18th century spacetime somehow enduring on Maldon High Street.