Come, let us go, while we are in our prime; And take the harmless folly of the time.
Then while time serves, and we are but decaying, Come, my Corinna, come, let's go a-Maying. Herrick is Herrick's earliest known poem, and deals with the move from London to farm life in Leicestershire. Merice Herrick' was written before He graduated a Bachelor of Arts in , Master of Arts in , and in he was ordained priest. By he was well known as a poet, mixing in literary circles in London such as that of Ben Jonson. The best of his work was written in the peace and seclusion of country life; 'To Blossoms' and 'To Daffodils' are classical depictions of a devoted appreciation of nature.
However, having refused to subscribe to The Solemn League and Covenant, he was ejected from Devonshire in This uncanonical haste suggests that he became some nobleman's chaplain. Two-thirds of the English forces were killed, but Herrick survived to be rewarded by Charles I with the vicarage of Dean Prior in Devonshire. While waiting for this benefice, Herrick wrote songs and carols which were set to music by the leading court musicians, Henry Lawes and Nicholas Lanier, and were sung before the King.
He also celebrated the birth of Prince Charles in a pretty pastoral. In September Herrick began his clerical duties at Dean Prior. Typically, he made the best of his environment, thanking God for his "little house" and writing poems about his spaniel Tracie, his pet sparrow, and his maid Prue, "by good luck sent. The peace of Devonshire was blasted by the civil war which broke out in The fact that the conquering Puritans were slow to oust Herrick from his vicarage suggests that he was popular with his parishioners and faithful in his duties.
In religion he was moderate and reasonable; his sacred poems express a broad Protestantism based on Scripture and common sense. It was his outspoken royalism which caused his expulsion in Presumably Herrick returned to London to see his book into print in Then he drops out of sight until , when he was restored to his vicarage. If he wrote more poems, they have not survived.
He was buried at Dean Prior on Oct. His successor 30 years later reported that he had been a "sober and learned man"; and after more than a century locals recalled "that he kept a pet pig, which he taught to drink out of a tankard. The many roles which he played in his poetry only partially correspond to the real Herrick. Indeed, it is misleading to identify the "I" in his verse with all the personae he assumed—inebriate, lover, and sensualist; scholar, moralist, and royalist; innocent child, advocate of moderation, and obscene epigrammatist.
The fact is that he ranges over the whole human comedy, singing of nature, seasons, youth and love, physical dews and rains, and balms which symbolize the spiritual heaven. He extends to the causes of things and the twilight realm of fairies; and he meditates upon hell, death, and heaven, urging readers to gather the roses of joy while they may. The first edition of Herrick's Hesperides seems to have been large and popular with royalists but unsuited to Restoration and 18th-century taste. Not until did a second edition appear.
Despite some attacks on his "naughty" material, the fame which he was certain he deserved came to him, and today his position as one of the great lyrical artists is secure. Moreover, scholars are beginning to recognize that his technical brilliance is complemented by complex profundities. Max Patrick There is perceptive criticism of the poetry in Roger B.
Rollin, Robert Herrick Budd, Louis J.
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Deming, Robert H. Deneef, A. D'Anna, Gertzman, Jay A. Holloway, Robin, The consolation of music: for unaccompanied mixed voices, op. Horlacher, Friedrich W. Musgrove, S. Rollin, Roger B. Martin's Press Cite this article Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography. July 4, Retrieved July 04, from Encyclopedia.
Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list. Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia. Robert Herrick , —, English poet, generally considered the greatest of the Cavalier poets. Although he was born in London, he spent most of his childhood in Hampton.
In he became apprenticed to his uncle, jeweler to the king, and remained in London until He was graduated from Cambridge, and sometime before he took orders. Two years later Herrick was given the country living of Dean Prior in Devonshire, remaining there until , when he was ejected because of royalist sympathies. He was restored to his living in and remained there until his death. Herrick never married, and the many women mentioned in his poems are probably imaginary.
The bulk of his work is contained in the Hesperides , which when it first appeared included his sacred songs called Noble Numbers. He was a disciple of Ben Jonson and his lyrics show considerable classical influence, but his greatness rests on his simplicity, his sensuousness, his care for design and detail, and his management of words and rhythms.
His reputation declined after his death, but in the 19th cent. See edition of his poetical works by L. Martin new ed. Aaron ; biography by G. Scott ; studies by F. Moorman , repr. Rollin Herrick, Robert — Son of a Cheapside goldsmith, initially apprenticed to the trade but graduating at Cambridge , Herrick was ordained in He returned to London and, in contact with other writers especially Ben Jonson , musicians, and court wits, established himself as a poet. After accompanying the duke of Buckingham to La Rochelle , he was admitted to the living of Dean Prior Devon , where he spent most of the rest of his life.
As an Anglican with strong royalist sympathies, he was ejected from the living in retiring happily to Westminster but was restored in Herrick's poetry was widely appreciated, appeared in miscellanies, and was set to music. From epigrams to epithalamions, though influenced by English folklore and covering a wide range of subjects, it was carefully polished yet retained much charm.
A collected edition of his poems was published as Hesperides Robert Herrick , —, American novelist, b. Cambridge, Mass. Herrick wrote over 2, poems, about half of which appear in his major work, Hesperides. He is well-known for, in his earlier works, frequent references to lovemaking and the female body. His later poetry was more of a spiritual and philosophical nature. As a pastoral lyrist Herrick stands 1st among English poets. His genius is limited in scope, and comparatively unambitious, but in its own field it is unrivalled.
His tiny poems are like jewels of various value, heaped together in a casket. Some are of the purest water, radiant with light and color, some were originally set in false metal that has tarnished, some were rude and repulsive from the first. Out of the unarranged, heterogeneous mass the student has to select what is not worth reading, but, after he has cast aside all the rubbish, he is astonished at the amount of excellent and exquisite work that remains. He saw the picturesqueness of English homely life as no one before him had seen it, and he described it in his verse with a certain purple glow of Arcadian romance over it, in tones of immortal vigor and freshness.
His love poems are still more beautiful; the best of them have an ardor and tender sweetness which give them a place in the forefront of modern lyrical poetry, and remind us of what was best in Horace and in the poets of the Greek Anthology. He loved the richness of sensuality and the variety of life, and this is shown vividly in such poems as Cherry-Ripe , Delight in Disorder and Upon Julia's Clothes.
10 of the Best Robert Herrick Poems Everyone Should Read
The over-riding message of Herrick's work is that life is short, the world is beautiful, love is splendid, and we must use the short time we have to make the most of it. This message can be seen clearly in To the Virgins, to Make Much of Time , To Daffodils , To Blossoms and Corinna going a-Maying , where the warmth and exuberance of what seems to have been a kindly and jovial personality comes over strongly. Among the English pastoral poets, Herrick takes an undisputed precedence, and as a lyrist generally he is scarcely excelled, except by Shelley.
No other writer of the seventeenth century approached him in abundance of song, in sustained exercise of the purely musical and intuitive gifts of poetry. Shakspeare , Milton , and perhaps Fletcher , surpassed him in the passion and elevated harmony of their best lyrical pieces, as they easily excelled him in the wider range of their genius and the breadth of their accomplishment.
But while these men exercised their art in all its branches, Herrick confined himself very narrowly to one or two, and the unflagging freshness of his inspiration, flowing through a long life in so straitened a channel, enabled him to amass such a wealth of purely lyrical poetry as no other Englishman has produced. His level of performance was very high; he seems to have preserved all that he wrote, and the result is that we possess more than of his little poems, in at least 1 out of every 3 of which we may find something charming or characteristic.
Consequently, while we have to lament, in the case of Lovelace or Suckling , a constant waste of energy, and unthrifty drain of poetic power, in Herrick all is wisely husbanded, and we feel satisfied that we possess the best that he could produce. His life was an ideal one so far as quiet and retirement went; to 14 years of seclusion at Cambridge there succeeded 20 years of unbroken Arcadian repose in a Devonshire vicarage, and it was not till the desire to rhyme had left him that the poet was brought rudely face to face with the clamor and vexation of political feud.
Thus he was preserved from that public riot and constant disturbance of the commonwealth which did its best to drown the voice of every poet from Carew to Dryden , which drove Crashaw away to madness and death, which made harsh the liquid melodies of Milton , which belied the promise of Davenant and broke the heart of Cowley.
Robert Herrick | Poetry Foundation
From all this disturbance and discord Herrick was fortunately free, and we may look in vain through his pastoral elegies and jets of amorous verse to discover a trace of the frantic times he lived in. The book which Herrick has bequeathed to us is filled with short poems, thrown together without any attempt at arrangement either of subject or time of composition.
They range between odes and epithalamia of 5 or 6 pages, and epigrams of a single couplet. In preparing the Hesperides for the press it would seem as though the English poet took for his model the works of the Latin epigrammatist Martial. There is, however, a deeper resemblance between the 2 writers than is to be found in the mere outward arrangement of their works. The successive editors of Herrick have noted what they conceive to be his likeness to Catullus, but this is hardly critical.
In all these respects he is far enough from resembling Catullus, but very near to Martial, who, moreover, alone among the Latin poets has that minute picturesqueness of detail and delight in the accessories of life which we admire in Herrick. Moreover, it must be frankly admitted, that in his tendency to obscene and unsavory jest, and in his radical indelicacy of fancy the English poet follows, happily at a great distance, the foulest of the ancients.
But Herrick was not indebted solely to Martial or to Catullus; his imagination was steeped in antique literature, and whether he was a Greek scholar or not, he contrived to assimilate into his work more of the temper of Theocritus and of the lyrists of the Greek Anthology than any English writer of the century. The atmosphere is Greek, though we find little that shows direct study; perhaps, with the tact of a poet, he extracted the odor and flavor of ancient verse without understanding it very well, just as Petrarch , dreaming above the MS. Herrick was a pagan and a hedonist, and it was natural that his mind should revert with extreme longing to the primitive civilisation of Europe.
He dreamed himself to be a priest in some past age of Sicily or Tuscany, earnestly partaking in the ceremonial of a god that could be wreathed with flowers or invoked in a libation of wine, and he was quietly contented with the physical fullness of life around him, without caring to define with much antiquarian exactitude what the age was or what the worship. So little had he of the pedant in his constitution, that he brought these genial rites in fancy to the doors of his Devonian vicarage, and raised the thyrsus underneath his clerical roof, while the roses reigned around, and his puritan locks were shining with galbanum and storax.
There were quintals at Dean-Prior, wakes and wassailings, and Herrick gaily assimilated to his antique dream these pleasant pastoral survivals, ribbanding the may-pole as though it were the cone-tipped rod of Dionysus, and pouring over the clumsy morris-dances of his parishioners the ideal grace of some Dorian round of nymphs and shepherds.
His classic fancy is brighter, and his sensuous vision more amply sustained than in the poems of those of his contemporaries who affected the same sentimental paganism. Even Ben Jonson, when he was most Latin, was but a burly Londoner masquerading in a toga; but Herrick, if not born a Greek, as Keats was, might yet claim to be the compatriot of those Italian lyrists of the early renaissance, who completely divested themselves of all trace of Christendom.
He preached sermons or wrote Noble Numbers with zeal and sincerity, but these were not the product of the native spirit of the man. He was an exile from Arcadia all his days, walking through our sober modern life without revolt or passion, but always conscious that he had seen more glorious sights, and walked through a land much more eminent for luxury and beauty. In Herrick the sense of bodily loveliness was perilously acute, but his good sense and artistic tact sufficed to restrain it within bounds; and, thus confined, it simply served to redeem his verse from the tasteless errors of his contemporaries, and to interpenetrate it with melody and colour.
What Herrick did not learn from the ancients, he gathered at the feet of Ben Jonson. He was the greatest and the most reverential in the group of youths of genius who formed the school and boasted of being the "sons" of the great tragic master. How wide and versatile was the genius of Ben Jonson is but little known to those who study him only as a dramatist.