ROBERT HERMCK MUST HAVE HAD HIGH HOPES FOR THE SALE OF Hesperides. Even if it found its first customers only among the people mentioned in the book there should have been a fair number of purchasers, from the Earl of Westmoreland, who had two poems addressed to him, to a Mr. Thomas Herrick who asked rather tardily to be included.
In addition, it was reasonable to expect a good sale among Herrick's fellow royalists in London, and it was perhaps to encourage such purchasers that the type in Hesperides becomes abnormally large whenever royalty is addressed. The relatively brief dedication to Prince Charles trails over two pages, and whenever the King himself is addressed the type expands again.1
Towards the end of the century Anthony Wood reported that Herrick's book was "much admired" at the time of publication, especially by the royalists. But if they admired they did not buy, for there was no second edition for a hundred and seventyfive years. It may be that the first printing was too large, so that the publishers could not get rid of it, but it seems more probable that the book simply could not find a market.
The apparent failure of Hesperides cannot be explained by the fact that this was a time of political turmoil when poetry could not be expected to thrive. A great deal of poetry was being published in London, and most of it did well. Nor can it be argued____________________