Some Poems of Robert Herrick

Some Poems of Robert Herrick

Some Poems of Robert Herrick

Some Poems of Robert Herrick

Excerpt

Not too much is known about Herrick's life, possibly because his work went out of fashion soon after his death. Fortunately several discerning critics rediscovered him about a hundred years later and it was not long before new editions of his Hesperides and Noble Numbers were published and he came into the great fame which his exquisite talent so deserves. But we do know that he was born in London in 1591, the son of a prosperous goldsmith. He was well educated, attending Cambridge for some years, and early in life became part of a literary coterie that centered around Ben Johnson in London. It is suspected that he was something of a Propertius during these London years. Later, however, he received a small ecclesiastical living in Devonshire and gradually settled down to a peaceful country life. He never married, but lived with a household of pets, one of which -- a pig -- he taught to drink beer from a tankard. He preached witty sermons which delighted the parish gentry, and seems to have become very devoted to his village and its customs. He supported the King in the Civil War and was ejected from his position during the Commonwealth. After the Restoration he got it back again, and died at Totnes in 1674 at the age of eighty-four. Hesperides, which contained almost all his verse, was issued in 1648. Herrick liked to work with the short forms; in fact, he wrote no long poems at all that we know of. This booklet, of course, gives only a very small selection of his work (he left some thirteen hundred poems) but that has been carefully chosen to represent his best things and also to show the range of his talent. The editors hope it will lead many modern readers back to the poems of one of the very finest lyric writers in our language.
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