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Do make or cherish;
And nature grieves as I;
Though some propitious power
Should plant me in a bower,
How showers and sunbeams bring
One everlasting spring;
Nature herself to him is lost,
Who loseth her he honours most.
Your graces all in one full day;
Thou, who didst never see the light,
V ROBERT HERRICK.
One of the most exquisite of our early lyrical poets was ROBERT HERRICK, born in Cheapside, London, in 1591. He studied at Cambridge, and having entered into holy orders, was presented by Charles I.,
Would backwards run, till they met mine?
Things unto things, might us combine.
First strikes the new awakened sense ;
And we must count our life from thence:
And in those souls did plant new pow'rs:
The breath we breathe is his, not ours;
Our bodies from the silent grave,
None too much, none too little have;
Tell me what's yours, and what is mine?
Do, like our souls, in one combine;
in 1629, to the vicarage of Dean Prior in Devonshire.
After about twenty years' residence in this rural I dream'd I saw myself lie dead,
parish, Herrick was ejected from his living by the And that my bed my coffin grew,
storms of the civil war, which, as Jeremy Taylor Silence and sleep this strange sight bred,
says, 'dashed the vessel of the church and state all But, waked, I found I liv'd anew.
in pieces.' Whatever regret the poet may have felt Looking next morn on your bright face,
on being turned adrift on the world, he could have Mine eyes bequeath'd mine heart fresh pain ; experienced little on parting with his parishioners, A dart rush'd in with every grace,
for he describes them in much the same way as And so I kill'd myself again:
Crabbe portrayed the natives of Suffolk, among O eyes, what shall distressed lovers do,
whom he was cast in early life, as a 'wild amphiIf open you can kill, if shut you view i
bious race,' rude . almost as salvages,' and churlish
as the seas.' Herrick gives us a glimpse of his own Forgive me, God, and blot each line character
Out of my book that is not thine ;
But if, 'mongst all thou findest one
Worthy thy benediction,
That one of all the rest shall be
The glory of my work and me.
The poet should better have evinced the sincerity
and depth of his contrition, by blotting out the unBut I'll spend my coming hours
baptised rhymes himself, or not reprinting them; Drinking wine and crown'd with flowers. but the vanity of the author probably triumphed
over the penitence of the Christian. Gaiety was the This light and genial temperament would enable the dess fair and free, that did not move happily in
natural element of Herrick. His muse was a godpoet to ride out the storm in composure. About the serious numbers. The time of the poet's death has time that he lost his vicarage, Herrick appears to not been ascertained, but he must have arrived at a have published his works. His Noble Numbers, or
ripe old age. Pious Pieces, are dated 1647; his Hesperides, or the
The poetical works of Herrick lay neglected for • Works both Humane and Divine of Robert Herrick, Esquire,” in 1648. The clerical prefix to his naine many years after his death. They are now again in seems now to have been abandoned by the poet, have been set to music, and are sung and quoted by
esteem, especially his shorter lyrics, some of which and there are certainly many pieces in his second all lovers of song. His verses, Cherry Ripe, and volume which would not become one ministering at Gather the Rose-buds while ye may (though the sentithe altar, or belonging to the sacred profession; ment and many of the expressions of the latter are Herrick lived in Westminster, and was supported taken from Spenser), possess a delicious mixture of or assisted by the wealthy royalists. He associated with the jovial spirits
of the age. He quaffed the playful fancy and natural feeling. Those To Blosmighty bowl with Ben Jonson, but could not, he soms, To Daffodils, and To Primroses, have a tinge tells us, thrive in frenzy, like rare Ben, who seems abound, like all Herrick’s poems, in lively imagery
of pathos that wins its way to the heart. They to have excelled all his fellow-compotators in sallies of wild wit and high imaginations. The recollec- and conceits; but the pensive moral feeling
predotion of these brave translunary scenes of the well be tears. Shakspeare and Jonson had scattered
minates, and we feel that the poet's smiles might as poets inspired the muse of Herrick in the following such delicate fancies and snatches of lyrical melody strain :
among their plays and masques-Milton's Comus
and the Arcades had also been published-Carew Ah Ben !
and Suckling were before him-Herrick was, there. Say how or when
fore, not without models of the highest excellence in Shall we, thy guests,
this species of composition. There is, however, in Meet at those lyric feasts
his songs and anacreontics, an unforced gaiety and Made at the Sun,
natural tenderness, that show he wrote chiefly from The Dog, the Triple Tun;
the impulses of his own cheerful and happy nature. Where we such clusters had As made us nobly wild, not mad !
The select beauty and picturesqueness of Herrick's And yet each verse of thine
language, when he is in his happiest vein, is worthy Outdid the meat, outdid the frolic wine.
of his fine conceptions; and his versification is har
mony itself. His verses bound and flow like some My Ben !
exquisite lively melody, that echoes nature, by wood Or come again,
and dell, and presents new beauties at every turn Or send to us
and winding. The strain is short, and sometimes Thy wit's great overplus,
fantastic; but the notes long linger in the mind, and But teach us yet
take their place for ever in the memory. One or Wisely to husband it;
two words, such as 'gather the rose-buds,' call up Lest we that talent spend ;
a summer landscape, with youth, beauty, flowers, And having once brought to an end
and music. This is, and ever must be, true poetry. That precious stock, the store Of such a wit, the world should have no more.
Fair pledges of a fruitful tree, After the Restoration, Herrick was replaced in his
Why do you fall so fast i Devonshire vicarage. How he was received by the
Your date is not so past, rude salvages' of Dean Prior, or how he felt on
But you may stay yet here a while, quitting the gaieties of the metropolis, to resume his
To blush and gently smile, clerical duties and seclusion, is not recorded. He
And go at last. was now about seventy years of age, and was pro. bably tired of canary sack and tavern jollities. He
What I were ye born to be had an undoubted taste for the pleasures of a country
An hour or half's delight, life, if we may judge from his works, and the fond
And so to bid good-night! ness with which he dwells on old English festivals
'Tis pity nature brought ye forth and rural customs. Though his rhymes were some
Merely to show your worth, times wild, he says his life was chaste, and he re
And lose you quite. pented of his errors :
But you are lovely leaves, where we
May read how soon things have
Their end, though ne'er so brave :
And after they have shown their pride,
Like you a while, they glide
Into the grave.
Will go with you along !
Ne'er to be found again.
Twelfth Night, or King and Queen.
With the cake full of plums,
Beside, we must know,
The pea also
Begin then to choose,
This night, as ye use, Who shall for the present delight here ;
Be a king by the lot,
And who shall not Be Twelfth-day queen for the night here.
Which known, let us make
Joy-sops with the cake ;
Who unurged will not drink,
To the base from the brink, A health to the king and the queen here.
Next crown the bowl full
With gentle lamb's-wool;? Add sugar, nutmeg, and ginger,
With store of ale, too ;
And thus ye must do
Give them to the king
And queen wassailing;
Yet part ye from hence,
As free from offence,
The Kissa Dialogue. 1. Among thy fancies tell me this:
What is the thing we call a kiss k 2. I shall resolve ye what it is :
It is a creature born, and bred
Chor.And makes more soft the bridal bed : 2. It is an active flame, that flies
First to the babies of the eyes,
Chor.–And stills the bride too when she cries : 2. Then to the chin, the cheek, the ear,
It frisks, and flies : now here, now there;
Chor.-And here, and there, and everywhere. 1. Has it a speaking virtue ?—2. Yes. 1. How speaks it, say ?-2. Do you but this, Part your join'd lips, then speaks your kiss ;
Chor.–And this love's sweetest language is. 1. Has it a body !–2. Ay, and wings,
With thousand rare encolourings;
Chor.-Love honey yields, but never stings.
The Country Life. Sweet country life, to such unknown, Whose lives are others', not their own ! But, serving courts and cities, be Less happy, less enjoying thee. Thou never plough'd the ocean's foam, To seek and bring rough pepper home; Nor to the eastern Ind dost rove, To bring from thence the scorched clove ; Nor, with the loss of thy lov'd rest, Bring'st home the ingot from the west. No; thy ambition's master-piece Flies no thought higher than a fleece ; Or how to pay thy hinds,3 and clear All scores, and so to end the year ; But walk'st about thy own dear grounds, Not craving others' larger bounds; For well thou know'st 'tis not th' extent Of land makes life, but sweet content. When now the cock, the ploughman's horn, Calls for the lily-wristed morn, Then to thy corn-fields thou dost go, Which, though well soil'd, yet thou dost know That the best compost for the lands Is the wise master's feet and hands. There, at the plough, thou find'st thy team, With a hind whistling there to them ; And cheer’st them up by singing how The kingdom's portion is the plough. This done, then to th' enamelled meads Thou go'st ; and, as thy foot there treads, Thou seest a present godlike power Imprinted in each herb and flower ; 1 Amongst the sports proper to Twelfth Night in England was the partition of a cake with a bean and pea in it: the individuals who got the bean and pea were respectively king and queen for the evening.
? A drink of warm ale, with roasted apples and spices in it The term is a corruption from the Celtic. 3 Farm-labourers. The term is still used in Sootland.
To the Virgins, to make much of their Time.
Gather the rose-buds, while ye may,
Old Time is still a-flying, And this same flower that smiles to-day,
To-morrow will be dying. The glorious lamp of heaven, the Sun,
The higher he's a getting,
And nearer he's to setting.
When youth and blood are warmer ; But, being spent, the worse, and worst
Time shall succeed the former.
And while ye may, go marry;
You may for ever tarry.
And smell'st the breath of great-eyed kine,
Some asked me where the rubies grew,
And nothing did I say, But with my finger pointed to
The lips of Julia.
Then spake I to iny girl,
The quarelets of pearl.
I bade him not go seek ;
A bud in either cheek.
A Thanksgiving for his House.
Wherein to dwell;
Both soft and dry.
Hast set a guard
Me while I sleep.
Both void of state ;
Is worn by the poor,
Good words or meat.
And kitchen small;
A little bin,
Make me a fire,
And glow like it.
The pulse is Thine,
There placed by Thee.
Of water cress,
And my content
To be more sweet. 'Tis Thou that crown'st my glittering hearth
With guiltless mirth ;
Upon Julia's Recovery. Droop, droop no more, or hang the head, Ye roses almost withered ; New strength and newer purple get Each here declining violet ; Oh ! primroses, let this day be A resurrection unto ye ; And to all flowers ally'd in blood, Or sworn to that sweet sisterhood. For health on Julia's cheek hath shed Claret and cream commingled ; And these her lips do now appear As beams of coral, but more clear.
SA kind of dance
Lord, 'tis thy plenty-dropping hand
Cherry ripe, ripe, ripe, I cry,
Full and fair ones--come and buy;
If so be you ask me where
They do grow l-I answer, There,
Where my Julia's lips do smile
There's the land, or cherry-isle;
Whose plantations fully show
All the year where cherries grow.
To Corinna, to go a Maying.
Get up, get up for shame, the blooming morn
Upon her wings presents the god unshorn.
See how Aurora throws her fair Teem'd her refreshing dew?
Fresh-quilted colours through the air ;
Get up, sweet slug-a-bed, and see
The dew bespangling herb and tree.
Each flower has wept, and bow'd toward the east, Breath of a blasting wind ;
Above an hour since, yet you are not drest,
Nay, not so much as out of bed ;
When all the birds have matins said,
And sung their thankful hymns : 'tis sin, Such pretty flowers, like to orphans young,
Nay, profanation, to keep in, Speaking by tears before ye have a tongue.
When as a thousand virgins on this day,
Spring sooner than the lark to fetch in May.
Rise, and put on your foliage, and be seen
To come forth, like the spring time, fresh and green, Is it for want of sleep,
And sweet as Flora. Take no care Or childish lullaby?
For jewels for your gown or hair ;
Fear not, the leaves will strew
Gems in abundance upon you ;
Besides, the childhood of the day has kept,
Against you come, some orient pearls unwept.
Come, and receive them while the light
Hangs on the dew-locks of the night:
And Titan on the eastern hill That things of greatest, so of micanest worth,
Retires himself, or else stands still
Few beads are best, when once we go a Maying.
Come, my Corinna, come ; and, coming, mark
How each field turns a street, each street a park (A happy kind of carelessness ;]
Made green, and trimm'd with trees; see how A lawn about the shoulders thrown
Devotion gives each house a bough, Into a fine distraction ;
Or branch ; each porch, each door, ere this, An erring lace, which here and there
An ark, a tabernacle is, Enthralls the crimson stomacher ;
Made up of white thorn neatly interwove ; A cuff neglectful, and thereby
As if here were those cooler shades of love. Ribands that flow confusedly ;
Can such delights be in the street, A winning wave, deserving note
And open fields, and we not see't ? In the tempestuous petticoat;
Come, we'll abroad, and let's obey A careless shoe-string, in whose tio
The proclamation made for May: I see a wild civility ;
And sin no more, as we have done, by staying, Do more bewitch me, than when art
But, my Corinna, come, let's go a Maying.
There's not a budding boy or girl, this day,
But is got up, and gone to bring in May.
A deal of youth, ere this, is come Weigh me the fire ; or canst thou find
Back, and with white thorn laden home. A way to measure out the wind;
Some have despatch'd their cakes and cream Distinguish all those floods that are
Before that we have left to dream ; Mixt in that watery theatre,
And some have wept, and woo'd, and plighted troth, And taste thou them as saltless there,
And chose their priest, ere we can cast off sloth : As in their channel first they were.
Many a green gown has been given ; Tell me the people that do keep
Many a kiss, both odd and even ; Within the kingdoms of the deep;
Many a glance, too, has been sent Or fetch me back that cloud again,
From out the eye, love's firmament;
1 Beshiver'd into seeds of rain.
Many a jest told of the key's betraying Tell me the motes, dusts, sands, and spears This night, and locks pick'd ; yet w’are not a Maying. Of corn, when summer shakes his ears; Show me that world of stars, and whence
1 Herrick here alludes to the multitudes which were to be They noiseless spill their influence :
seen roaning in the fields on May morning; he afterwards reThis if thou canst, then show me Him
fers to the appearance of the towns and villages bedecked with That rides the glorious cherubim.