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in 1629, to the vicarage of Dean Prior in Devonshire. After about twenty years' residence in this rural parish, Herrick was ejected from his living by the storms of the civil war, which, as Jeremy Taylor says, 'dashed the vessel of the church and state all in pieces.' Whatever regret the poet may have felt on being turned adrift on the world, he could have experienced little on parting with his parishioners, for he describes them in much the same way as Crabbe portrayed the natives of Suffolk, among whom he was cast in early life, as a 'wild amphibious race,' rude almost as salvages,' and 'churlish
as the seas.' Herrick gives us a glimpse of his own character
Born I was to meet with age,
I'll have nought to say to you;
This light and genial temperament would enable the poet to ride out the storm in composure. About the time that he lost his vicarage, Herrick appears to have published his works. His Noble Numbers, or Pious Pieces, are dated 1647; his Hesperides, or the Works both Humane and Divine of Robert Herrick, Esquire,' in 1648. The clerical prefix to his name seems now to have been abandoned by the poet, and there are certainly many pieces in his second volume which would not become one ministering at the altar, or belonging to the sacred profession. Herrick lived in Westminster, and was supported or assisted by the wealthy royalists. He associated with the jovial spirits of the age. He quaffed the mighty bowl' with Ben Jonson, but could not, he tells us, thrive in frenzy,' like rare Ben, who seems to have excelled all his fellow-compotators in sallies of wild wit and high imaginations. The recollection of these brave translunary scenes' of the poets inspired the muse of Herrick in the following
After the Restoration, Herrick was replaced in his Devonshire vicarage. How he was received by the 'rude salvages' of Dean Prior, or how he felt on quitting the gaieties of the metropolis, to resume his clerical duties and seclusion, is not recorded. He was now about seventy years of age, and was probably tired of canary sack and tavern jollities. He had an undoubted taste for the pleasures of a country life, if we may judge from his works, and the fondness with which he dwells on old English festivals and rural customs. Though his rhymes were sometimes wild, he says his life was chaste, and he repented of his errors :—
For these my unbaptised rhymes, Writ in my wild unhallowed times, For every sentence, clause, and word, That's not inlaid with thec, O Lord!
Forgive me, God, and blot each line
That one of all the rest shall be
The poet should better have evinced the sincerity and depth of his contrition, by blotting out the unbaptised rhymes himself, or not reprinting them; but the vanity of the author probably triumphed over the penitence of the Christian. Gaiety was the dess fair and free, that did not move happily in natural element of Herrick. His muse was a godserious numbers. The time of the poet's death has not been ascertained, but he must have arrived at a ripe old age.
many years after his death. They are now again in The poetical works of Herrick lay neglected for have been set to music, and are sung and quoted by esteem, especially his shorter lyrics, some of which all lovers of song. His verses, Cherry Ripe, and Gather the Rose-buds while ye may (though the sentitaken from Spenser), possess a delicious mixture of ment and many of the expressions of the latter are playful fancy and natural feeling. Those To Blosof pathos that wins its way to the heart. They soms, To Daffodils, and To Primroses, have a tinge abound, like all Herrick's poems, in lively imagery and conceits; but the pensive moral feeling predominates, and we feel that the poet's smiles might as such delicate fancies and snatches of lyrical melody well be tears. Shakspeare and Jonson had scattered among their plays and masques-Milton's Comus and the Arcades had also been published-Carew and Suckling were before him-Herrick was, therefore, not without models of the highest excellence in this species of composition. There is, however, in his songs and anacreontics, an unforced gaiety and natural tenderness, that show he wrote chiefly from the impulses of his own cheerful and happy nature. The select beauty and picturesqueness of Herrick's language, when he is in his happiest vein, is worthy of his fine conceptions; and his versification is harmony itself. His verses bound and flow like some exquisite lively melody, that echoes nature, by wood and dell, and presents new beauties at every turn and winding. The strain is short, and sometimes fantastic; but the notes long linger in the mind, and take their place for ever in the memory. One or two words, such as 'gather the rose-buds,' call up a summer landscape, with youth, beauty, flowers, and music. This is, and ever must be, true poetry.
Fair pledges of a fruitful tree,
What! were ye born to be
An hour or half's delight, And so to bid good-night? 'Tis pity nature brought ye forth Merely to show your worth, And lose you quite.
But you are lovely leaves, where we
Be Twelfth-day queen for the night here.
And let not a man then be seen here,
A health to the king and the queen here.
To make the wassail a swinger.
And though with ale ye be wet here ;
Yet part ye from hence,
The Country Life.
Sweet country life, to such unknown,
To bring from thence the scorched clove;
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.
2 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 Scotland.
And smell'st the breath of great-eyed kine, Sweet as the blossoms of the vine.
Here thou behold'st thy large, sleek neat,1
And, as thou look'st, the wanton steer,
For sports, for pageantry, and plays,
To these thou hast thy time to go,
And trace the hare in the treacherous snow:
Thy witty wiles to draw, and get
Some asked me where the rubies grew, And nothing did I say,
But with my finger pointed to
The lips of Julia.
Some asked how pearls did grow, and where,
The quarelets of pearl.
One ask'd me where the roses grew, I bade him not go seek ; But forthwith bade my Julia show A bud in either cheek.
Upon Julia's Recovery.
Droop, droop no more, or hang the head,
Oh! primroses, let this day be
The Bag of the Bee.
About the sweet bag of a bee,
And whose the pretty prize should be,
Upon a Child that Died.
Here she lies, a pretty bud,
Epitaph upon a Child.
Virgins promis'd, when I died,
A Thanksgiving for his House.
A little house, whose humble roof
Under the spars of which I lie
for to ward,
Low is my porch, as is my fate,
And yet the threshold of my door
Who hither come, and freely get
A little buttery, and therein A little bin,
Which keeps my little loaf of bread
Close by whose living coal I sit,
And all those other bits that be
The worts, the purslain, and the mess
Which of Thy kindness Thou hast sent:
Makes those, and my beloved beet,
'Tis Thou that crown'st my glittering hearth
With guiltless mirth;
And giv'st me wassail bowls to drink,
Spiced to the brink.
To find God.
Weigh me the fire; or canst thou find
Cherry ripe, ripe, ripe, I cry,
To Corinna, to go a Maying.
Get up, get up for shame, the blooming morn
See how Aurora throws her fair
When as a thousand virgins on this day,
Come, my Corinna, come; and, coming, mark
Made green, and trimm'd with trees; see how
Or branch; each porch, each door, ere this,
Made up of white thorn neatly interwove;
A deal of youth, ere this, is come
And some have wept, and woo'd, and plighted troth, And chose their priest, ere we can cast off sloth:
Many a green gown has been given; Many a kiss, both odd and even ; Many a glance, too, has been sent From out the eye, love's firmament; Many a jest told of the key's betraying This night, and locks pick'd; yet w' are not a Maying.
1 Herrick here alludes to the multitudes which were to be seen roaming in the fields on May morning; he afterwards refers to the appearance of the towns and villages bedecked with