Robert Herrick Poems

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Robert Herrick
Robert Herrick (baptized August 24, 1591- October 1674) was a 17th century English poet. Born in Cheapside, London, he was the seventh child and fourth son of Nicholas Herrick, a prosperous goldsmith, who committed suicide when Robert was a year old. It is likely that he attended Westminster School. In 1607 he became apprenticed to his uncle, Sir William Herrick, who was a goldsmith and jeweller to the king. The apprenticeship ended after only six years when Herrick, at age twenty-two, matriculated at St John's College, Cambridge. He graduated in 1617. Robert Herrick became a member of the Sons of Ben, a group of Cavalier poets centered around an admiration for the works of Ben Jonson. In or before 1627, he took religious orders, and, having been appointed chaplain to the duke of Buckingham, accompanied him on his disastrous expedition to the Isle of Rhé (1627). He became vicar of the parish of Dean Prior, Devon in 1629, a post that carried a term of thirty-one years. It was in the secluded country life of Devon that he wrote some of his best work. The stipend (pay) for this living was small, and the contrast to his life in London must have been great. However, he took his responsibilities as a parish priest seriously, and he was essentially a man with a happy and friendly temperament. Local people described him as becoming much beloved by the Gentry in those parts for his florid and witty discourse, even though (as his biographer Alfred Pollard records) he had been known to throw the manuscript of his sermon at an unfortunate parishioner who happened to drop off to sleep during it. His poem A Thanksgiving to God, for his House describes an idyllic and placid life, surrounded by his animals and cared for devotedly by his maid, Prudence Baldwin. In the wake of the English Civil War, his position was revoked on account of his refusal to make pledge to the Solemn League and Covenant. He then returned to London. During this time, he lived in Westminster, in London, depending on the charity of his friends and family. He spent some time preparing his lyric poems for publication, and had them printed in 1648 under the title Hesperides; or the Works both Human and Divine of Robert Herrick, with a dedication to the Prince of Wales. When King Charles II was restored to the throne in 1660, Herrick petitioned for his own restoration to his living. Perhaps King Charles felt kindly towards this genial man, who had written verses celebrating the births of both Charles II and his brother James before the Civil War. Herrick became the vicar of Dean Prior again in the summer of 1662 and lived there until his death in 1674, at the ripe age of 83. Herrick was a bachelor all his life, and many of the women he names in his poems are thought to be fictional.

to anthea, who may command him anything
Bid me to live, and I will live
Thy protestant to be;
Or bid me love, and I will giv... [read poem]
the lie
Go, Soul, the body's guest,
Upon a thankless errand:
Fear not to touch the best;
... [read poem]
delight in disorder
A sweet disorder in the dress
Kindles in clothes a wantonness :
A lawn about the shoulders... [read poem]
I've really done enough of sums,
I've done so very many,
That now instead of doin... [read poem]
By Algernon Charles Sin-Burn

Strange beauty, eight-limbed and eight-handed,
Whe... [read poem]
nonsense verses
By Edward Leary.

There was an old fellow of Peterhouse,
Who said, "You could not fi... [read poem]
as you came from the holy land
As you came from the holy land
Of Walsinghame,
Met you not with my true love
By... [read poem]
the vulture and the husbandman
By Louisa Caroline

The rain was raining cheerfully,
As if it had ... [read poem]
from catullus v
The sun may set and rise,
But we, contrariwise,
Sleep, after our short light,
One everlasting night.

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