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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 strain:
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 pro bably 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 godnot been ascertained, but he must have arrived at a serious numbers. The time of the poet's death has ripe old age.
The poetical works of Herrick lay neglected for many years after his death. They are now again in 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 Blossoms, To Daffodils, and To Primroses, have a tinge abound, like all Herrick's poems, in lively imagery of pathos that wins its way to the heart. They and conceits; but the pensive moral feeling predominates, and we feel that the poet's smiles might as well be tears. Shakspeare and Jonson had scattered such delicate fancies and snatches of lyrical melody 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 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.
The Country Life.
Sweet country life, to such unknown,
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 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,'
For sports, for pageantry, and plays,
To these thou hast thy time to go,
Breath of a blasting wind;
Nor are ye worn with years,
Who think it strange to see
Such pretty flowers, like to orphans young,
The reason why
Ye droop and weep;
Or that ye have not seen as yet
Or brought a kiss
From that sweet heart to this?
No, no; this sorrow shown
By your tears shed,
Would have this lecture read
Rise, and put on your foliage, and be seen
To come forth, like the spring time, fresh and green,
Against you come, some orient pearls unwept.
That things of greatest, so of meanest worth,
Made green, and trimm'd with trees; see how
Or branch; each porch, each door, ere this,
Made up of white thorn neatly interwove;
Delight in Disorder.
A sweet disorder in the dress,
A lawn about the shoulders thrown
An erring lace, which here and there
Do more bewitch me, than when art
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
A deal of youth, ere this, is come
And some have wept, and woo'd, and plighted troth,
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 evergreens.
Come, let us go, while we are in our prime,
So when or you or I are made
Of the same class as Herrick, less buoyant or vigorous in natural power, and much less fortunate in his destiny, was RICHARD LOVELACE (1618-1658). This cavalier poet was well descended, being the son of Sir William Lovelace, knight. He was educated at Oxford, and afterwards presented at court. Anthony Wood describes him at the age of sixteen, 'as the most amiable and beautiful person that eye ever beheld; a person also of innate modesty, virtue, and courtly deportment, which made him then, but especially after, when he retired to the great city, much admired and adored by the female sex.' Thus personally distinguished, and a royalist in principle, Lovelace was chosen by the county of Kent to deliver a petition to the House of Commons, praying that the king might be restored to his rights, and the government settled. The Long Parliament was then in the ascendant, and Lovelace was thrown into prison for his boldness. He was liberated on heavy bail, but spent his fortune in fruitless efforts to succour the royal cause. He afterwards served in the French army, and was wounded at Dunkirk. Returning in 1648, he was again imprisoned. To beguile the time of his confinement, he collected his poems, and published them in 1649, under the title of Lucasta: Odes, Sonnets, Songs, &c. &c. The general title was given them on account of the 'lady of his love,' Miss Lucy Sacheverell, whom he usually called Lux Casta. This was an unfortunate attachment; for the lady, hearing that Lovelace died of his wounds at Dunkirk, married another person. From this time the course of the poet was downward. The ascendant party did, indeed, release his person, when the death of the king had left them the less to fear from their opponents; but Lovelace was now penniless, and the reputation of a broken cavalier was no passport to better circumstances. It appears that, oppressed with want and melancholy, the gallant Lovelace fell into a consumption. Wood relates that he became very poor in body and purse, was the object of charity, went in ragged clothes, and mostly lodged in obscure and dirty places,' in one of which, situated in a miserable alley near Shoe Lane, he died in 1658. What a contrast to the gay and splendid scenes of his youth! Aubrey confirms the statement of Wood as to the reverse of fortune; but recent inquiries have rather tended to throw discredit on those pictures of the extreme misery of the poet. Destitute, however, he no doubt was, fallen from his high estate;' though not perhaps so low as to die an example of abject poverty and misery. The poetry of Lovelace, like his life, was very unequal. There is a spirit and nobleness in some of his verses and sentiments, that charms the reader, as much as his gallant bearing and fine person captivated the fair. In general, however, they are affected, obscure, and harsh. His taste was perverted by the fashion of the day-the affected wit, ridiculous gallantry, and boasted licen
tiousness of the cavaliers. That Lovelace knew how to appreciate true taste and nature, may be seen from his lines on Lely's portrait of Charles I:
See, what an humble bravery doth shine,
And grief triumphant breaking through each line,
So sacred a contempt that others show
Lord Byron has been censured for a line in his Bride of Abydos, in which he says of his heroine
The mind, the music breathing from her face. The noble poet vindicates the expression on the broad ground of its truth and appositeness. He does not seem to have been aware (as was pointed out by Sir Egerton Brydges) that Lovelace first employed the same illustration, in a song of Orpheus, lamenting the death of his wife :
Oh, could you view the melody
And music of her face,
Why should you swear I am forsworn,
And 'twas last night I swore to thee
Have I not lov'd thee much and long,
But I must search the black and fair,
Like skilful mineralists that sound For treasure in unplough'd-up ground. Then, if when I have lov'd my round, Thou prov'st the pleasant she; With spoils of meaner beauties crown'd, I laden will return to thee, Even sated with variety.
Sweet, serene, sky-like flower, Haste to adorn her bower:
From thy long cloudy bed Shoot forth thy damask head. Vermilion ball that's given From lip to lip in heaven; Love's couch's coverlid; Haste, haste, to make her bed. See! rosy is her bower, Her floor is all thy flower; Her bed a rosy nest, By a bed of roses prest.
Amarantha, sweet and fair,