Two Gentle Men: The Lives of George Herbert and Robert Herrick

By Marchette Chute | Go to book overview

CHAPTER TWENTY-SIX

ROBERT HERRICK'S BOOK OF POEMS WAS PUBLISHED IN 1648. HE was fifty-seven years old and had waited a long time for the event, as the climax of a lifetime's devotion to the art of writing poetry. Only a fraction had already been published-what Herrick called "a little-peeping-part" -- and nothing under his own name. Now it was to be unveiled as a glorious whole, and the long delay only made the event more magnificent.

Like to a bride, come forth, my book, at last.

The fortunate printers were John Williams and Francis Eglesfield. Williams had a shop called the Crown in St. Paul's Churchyard, and Eglesfield had one called the Marigold in the same location. There was also an arrangement made with a Devon printer named Thomas Hunt, who had a press in Exeter in the Cathedral churchyard. Hunt took a certain number of copies and put his own imprint upon them, since it seemed reasonable to suppose that Herrick would have friends and admirers in the West Country.1

Herrick called his book Hesperides, after the nymphs of the West who guarded the golden apples; and if Devon was not precisely what the Greeks had in mind, Herrick seems to have felt that the analogy was close enough for his golden poems. The subtitle explained that these were "the works, both humane and divine, of Robert Herrick, Esq." but it was found expedient to give the "divine" poems a separate heading at the end of the book and entitle them His Noble Numbers.

It may be that this plan was the suggestion of Frances Egles-

____________________
1
When George Herbert's book of poems was published, a similar arrangement was made with Francis Green, a bookseller in the town of Cambridge.

-244-

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Two Gentle Men: The Lives of George Herbert and Robert Herrick
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page 3
  • Contents 7
  • Part One - George Herbert 9
  • Chapter One 11
  • Chapter Two 22
  • Chapter Three 35
  • Chapter Four 47
  • Chapter Five 57
  • Chapter Six 68
  • Chapter Seven 77
  • Chapter Eight 85
  • Chapter Nine 93
  • Chapter Ten 107
  • Chapter Eleven 116
  • Chapter Twelve 123
  • Chapter Thirteen 134
  • Chapter Fourteen 148
  • Part Two - Robert Herrick 153
  • Chapter Fifteen 155
  • Chapter Sixteen 161
  • Chapter Seventeen 170
  • Chapter Eighteen 178
  • Chapter Nineteen 184
  • Chapter Twenty 192
  • Chapter Twenty-One 203
  • Chapter Twenty-Two 211
  • Chapter Twenty-Three 219
  • Chapter Twenty-Four 226
  • Chapter Twenty-Five 235
  • Chapter Twenty-Six 244
  • Chapter Twenty-Seven 255
  • Chapter Twenty-Eight 265
  • Appendix - Walton's Biography of Herbert 277
  • Selected Bibliography 283
  • Index 299
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