Biography of Robert Herrick
Clergyman and poet, Robert Herrick was born in London, the seventh child of Nicholas Herrick, a wealthy goldsmith. In November 1592, two days after making a will, his father killed himself by jumping from the fourth-floor window of his house. However, the Queen's Almoner did not confiscate the Herrick estate for the crown as was usually the case with suicides. There is no record of Herrick attending school. In 1607 he was apprenticed to his uncle Sir William Herrick as a goldsmith.
'A Country Life: To his Brother M. Tho. Herrick' (1610) is Herrick's earliest known poem, and deals with the move from London to farm life in Leicestershire. 'To My Dearest Sister M. Merice Herrick' was written before 1612. He entered St John's College, Cambridge in 1613, and became friends with Clipsby Crew to whom he addressed several poems such as 'Nuptial Song'. He graduated a Bachelor of Arts in 1617, Master of Arts in 1620, and in 1623 he was ordained priest. By 1625 he was well known as a poet, mixing in literary circles in London such as that of Ben Jonson. In 1629 he was presented by Charles I to the living of Dean Prior, a remote parish of Devonshire. 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 1647. He then returned to London publishing his religious poems Noble Numbers (1647), and Hesperides (1648). He was distinguished as a lyric poet, and some of his love songs, for example, 'To Anthea' and 'Gather Ye Rose-buds' are considered exceptional . In 1660 he was reinstated at Dean Prior where he lived for the remainder of his life. He wrote no more poems after 1648, and is buried in an unmarked grave in the churchyard at Dean Prior.
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Robert Herrick Poems
Fair Daffodils, we weep to see You haste away so soon; As yet the early-rising sun Has not attain'd his noon.
Here we are all, by day; by night we're hurl'd By dreams, each one into a several world.
To The Virgins, Make Much Of Time
Gather ye rose-buds while ye may: Old Time is still a-flying; And this same flower that smiles to-day, To-morrow will be dying.
A Hymn To Love
I will confess With cheerfulness, Love is a thing so likes me, That, let her lay
Delight In Disorder
A sweet disorder in the dress Kindles in clothes a wantonness; A lawn about the shoulders thrown Into a fine distraction;
Upon The Nipples Of Julia's Breast
Have ye beheld (with much delight) A red rose peeping through a white? Or else a cherry (double graced) Within a lily? Centre placed?
No Fault In Women
No fault in women, to refuse The offer which they most would chuse. - No fault: in women, to confess How tedious they are in their dress;
A Child's Grace
HERE a little child I stand Heaving up my either hand; Cold as paddocks though they be, Here I lift them up to Thee,
Four Things Make Us Happy Here
Health is the first good lent to men; A gentle disposition then: Next, to be rich by no by-ways;
Open thy gates To him who weeping waits, And might come in, But that held back by sin.
Tears And Laughter
Knew'st thou one month would take thy life away, Thou'dst weep; but laugh, should it not last a day.
Love, What It Is
Why Flowers Change Colour
These fresh beauties, we can prove, Once were virgins, sick of love,
The Kiss: A Dialogue
1 Among thy fancies, tell me this, What is the thing we call a kiss? 2 I shall resolve ye what it is:--
Pray And Prosper
First offer incense; then, thy field and meads
Shall smile and smell the better by thy beads.
The spangling dew dredged o'er the grass shall be
Turn'd all to mell and manna there for thee.
Butter of amber, cream, and wine, and oil,
Shall run as rivers all throughout thy soil.
Would'st thou to sincere silver turn thy mould?
--Pray once, twice pray; and turn thy ground to gold.