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Robert Herrick Eman Poet Lib #12 (Everyman Poetry) Paperback – January 15, 1997
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From the Publisher
Founded in 1906 by J.M. Dent, the Everyman Library has always tried to make the best books ever written available to the greatest number of people at the lowest possible price. Unique editorial features that help Everyman Paperback Classics stand out from the crowd include: a leading scholar or literary critic's introduction to the text, a biography of the author, a chronology of her or his life and times, a historical selection of criticism, and a concise plot summary. All books published since 1993 have also been completely restyled: all type has been reset, to offer a clarity and ease of reading unique among editions of the classics; a vibrant, full-color cover design now complements these great texts with beautiful contemporary works of art. But the best feature must be Everyman's uniquely low price. Each Everyman title offers these extensive materials at a price that competes with the most inexpensive editions on the market-but Everyman Paperbacks have durable binding, quality paper, and the highest editorial and scholarly standards.
About the Author
Douglas Brooks-Davies was born in Wimbledon in 1942, and educated at Merchant Taylors' School, Crosby and Brasenose College, Oxford. Formerly Senior Lecturer in English Literature at the University of Manchester, where he remains an Honorary Research fellow, he has published widely on Renaissance and later literature, and is now a freelance writer. His hobbies include gardening, singing, and playing the oboe.
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Top Customer Reviews
This volume provides a good, solid selection from Herrick's two collections, "Hesperides" and "His Noble Numbers", and includes several of his pastoral verses, encomia and comic pieces interspersed with the love poems and pious work. Alas, one of his most charming efforts is excluded, the lovely "Upon the Nipples of Julia's Breast" (and how can you go wrong with a title like that?). Nowhere near as popular as other 17th century writers such as Donne or Jonson or Dryden, and indeed somewhat less respected by lit crit types because his poetry does talk about things like nipples, daffodils and strawberries dipped in cream, Robert Herrick's accessible, graceful, smooth-flowing verse is nevertheless very much worth reading.
Perhaps his most famous poem is :
To the Virgins, to Make Much of Time
Gather ye rosebuds while ye may,
Old Time is still a-flying;
And this same flower that smiles today
Tomorrow will be dying.
The glorious lamp of heaven, the sun,
The higher he's a-getting,
The sooner will his race be run,
And nearer he's to setting.
That age is best which is the first,
When youth and blood are warmer;
But being spent, the worse, and worst
Times still succeed the former.
Then be not coy, but use your time,
And while ye may, go marry;
For having lost but once your prime,
You may forever tarry."
This famous poem has about it a lightness bordering on humor, a kind of ease and spirit of delight. It seems frankly far too hedonistic to come from a clergyman, but it certainly has given a lot of pleasure to readers.
Herrick is a minor delight, and if he does not really compare in depth, complexity and power of passion to Donne, he does provide his own special voice and music.
An Anglican minister whose Devon church and house-in-exile still stand just off the main highway (at Dean Prior), he wrote the most famous Cavalier poem on erection, "The Vine." This uses a dream and a gardening metaphor, 'Me thought, her long small legs and thighs / I with my tendrils did surprise," and concludes,"And with the fancy I awook; /And found (Ah me!)
this mortal part of mine / More like a Stock than like a Vine."
To sum his genius, see him fit Latinate, ponderous words into light, short meter, four beat lines: "When as in silks my Julia goes / Then, then (me thinks) how sweetly flows / The liquefation of her clothes."
My personal favorite shows Herrick the clergyman syncretizing classical and Christian gods: "The gods require the thighs / Of beeves for sacrifice /
Which roasted, we the steam / High-towering raise to them, / Who, though they do not eat, / Yet love the smell of meat."
Something deeply personal as well as professional here; Herrick combines his asceticism and his sensuality in another syncretism.