Robert Herrick

R
Robert Herrick
His Farewell to Sack
Farewell thou thing, time past so known, so dear
To me as blood to life and spirit; near,
Nay, thou more near than kindred, friend, man, wife,
Male to the female, soul to body; life
To quick action, or the warm soft side
Of the resigning, yet resisting bride.
The kiss of virgins, first fruits of the bed,
Soft speech, smooth touch, the lips, the maidenhead :
These and a thousand sweets could never be
So near or dear as thou wast once to me.
O thou, the drink of gods and angels! wine
That scatter'st spirit and lust, whose purest shine
More radiant than the summer's sunbeam shows;
Each way illustrious, brave, and like to those
Comets we see by night, whose shagg'd portents
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Neutrality Loathsome
God will have all, or none; serve Him, or fall
Down before Baal, Bel, or Belial:
Either be hot, or cold: God doth despise,
Abhorre, and spew out all Neutralities.
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Of Love
How Love came in, I do not know,
Whether by th’ eye, or eare, or no:
Or whether with the soule it came
(At first) infused with the same:
Whether in part ‘tis here or there,
Or, like the soule, whole every where:
This troubles me: but as I well
As any other, this can tell;
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The Pillar of Fame
Fame’s pillar here at last we set,
Out-during marble, brass or jet;
Charmed and enchanted so
As to withstand the blow
O fo v e r t h r o w ;
Norshalltheseas,
Or o u t r a g e s
Ofstorms,o’erbear
What we uprear;
Tho’kingdomsfall,
Thispillarnevershall
Declineor waste atall;
Butstandfor everbyhisown
Firmand well-fixed foundation.
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A Ring Presented to Julia
Julia, I bring
To thee this ring,
Made for thy finger fit;
To show by this
That our love is
(Or should be) like to it.

Close though it be,
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To Anthea
Let’s call for Hymen if agreed thou art –
Delays in love but crucify the heart.
Love’s thorny tapers yet neglected lie;
Speak thou the word, they’ll kindle by and by.
The nimble hours woo us on to wed,
And Genius waits to have us both to bed.
Behold, for us the naked Graces stay
With maunds of roses for us to strew the way.
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To Find God
Weigh me the fire; or canst thou find
A way to measure out the wind?
Distinguish all those floods that are
Mixed in that wat’ry theater,
And taste thou them as saltless there,
As in their channel first they were.
Tell me the people that do keep
Within the kingdoms of the deep;
Or fetch me back that cloud again,
Beshivered into seeds of rain.
Tell me the motes, dust, sands, and spears
Of corn, when summer shakes his ears;
Show me that world of stars, and whence
They noiseless spill their influence.
This if thou canst; then show me Him
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To the Sour Reader
If thou dislik’st the piece thou light’st on first,
Think that of all that I have writ the worst;
But if thou read’st my book unto the end,
And still dost this and that verse reprehend,
O perverse man! If all disgustful be,
The extreme scab take thee and thine, for me.

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To the Virgins, to Make Much of Time
Gather ye rose-buds 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,
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Upon a Child That Died
Here she lies, a pretty bud,
Lately made of flesh and blood,
Who as soon fell fast asleep
As her little eyes did peep.
Give her strewings, but not stir
The earth that lightly covers her.
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Upon Ben Jonson
Here lies Jonson with the rest
Of the poets; but the best.
Reader, would’st thou more have known?
Ask his story, not this stone.
That will speak what this can’t tell
Of his glory. So farewell.
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Upon Julia’s Breasts
Display thy breasts, my Julia, there let me
Behold that circummortal purity;
Between whose glories, there my lips I’ll lay,
Ravished in that fair Via Lactea.

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Upon Prue, His Maid
In this little urn is laid
Prudence Baldwin, once my maid,
From whose happy spark here let
Spring the purple violet.
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The Vine
I dreamed this mortal part of mine
Was metamorphosed to a vine,
Which crawling one and every way
Enthralled my dainty Lucia.
Methought her long small legs and thighs
I with my tendrils did surprise;
Her belly, buttocks, and her waist
By my soft nervelets were embraced.
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The White Island, or Place of the Blest
In this world, the isle of dreams,
While we sit by sorrow’s streams,
Tears and terrors are our themes
Reciting:

But when once from hence we fly,
More and more approaching nigh
Unto young eternity,
Uniting:

In that whiter island, where
Things are evermore sincere;
Candor here and luster there
Delighting:

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An Ode to Ben Jonson
Ah Ben!
Say how, or when
Shall we thy guests
Meet at those lyric feasts
Made at the Sun,
The Dog, the Triple Tun?
Where we such clusters had
As made us nobly wild, not mad;
And yet each verse of thine
Outdid the meat, outdid the frolic wine.

My Ben
Or come again,
Or send to us
Thy wit's great overplus;
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Another Grace for a Child
Here a little child I stand
Heaving up my either hand;
Cold as paddocks though they be,
Here I lift them up to Thee,
For a benison to fall
On our meat, and on us all. Amen.

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The Argument of his Book
I sing of brooks, of blossoms, birds, and bowers,
Of April, May, of June, and July flowers.
I sing of May-poles, hock-carts, wassails, wakes,
Of bridegrooms, brides, and of their bridal-cakes.
I write of youth, of love, and have access
By these to sing of cleanly wantonness.
I sing of dews, of rains, and piece by piece
Of balm, of oil, of spice, and ambergris.
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The Bad Season Makes the Poet Sad
Dull to myself, and almost dead to these
My many fresh and fragrant mistresses;
Lost to all music now, since everything
Puts on the semblance here of sorrowing.
Sick is the land to th' heart, and doth endure
More dangerous faintings by her desp'rate cure.
But if that golden age would come again
And Charles here rule, as he before did reign;
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Corinna's going a Maying
Get up, get up for shame, the Blooming Morne
Upon her wings presents the god unshorne.
See how Aurora throwes her faire
Fresh-quilted colours through the aire:
Get up, sweet-Slug-a-bed, and see
The Dew-bespangling Herbe and Tree.
Each Flower has wept, and bow'd toward the East,
Above an houre since; yet you not drest,
Nay! not so much as out of bed?
When all the Birds have Mattens seyd,
And sung their thankful Hymnes: 'tis sin,
Nay, profanation to keep in,
When as a thousand Virgins on this day,
Spring, sooner than the Lark, to fetch in May.

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Delight in Disorder
A sweet disorder in the dress
Kindles in clothes a wantonness;
A lawn about the shoulders thrown
Into a fine distraction;
An erring lace, which here and there
Enthrals the crimson stomacher;
A cuff neglectful, and thereby
Ribands to flow confusedly;
A winning wave, deserving note,
In the tempestuous petticoat;
A careless shoe-string, in whose tie
I see a wild civility:
Do more bewitch me, than when art
Is too precise in every part.

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Discontents in Devon
More discontents I never had
Since I was born, than here;
Where I have been, and still am, sad,
In this dull Devonshire.
Yet justly too I must confess,
I ne'er invented such
Ennobled numbers for the press,
Than where I loath'd so much.
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His Prayer for Absolution
For those my unbaptized rhymes,
Writ in my wild unhallowed times,
For every sentence, clause, and word,
That's not inlaid with Thee, my Lord,
Forgive me, God, and blot each line
Out of my book, that is not Thine.
But if, 'mongst all, Thou find'st here one
Worthy thy benediction,
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His Prayer to Ben Jonson
When I a verse shall make,
Know I have pray'd thee,
For old religion's sake,
Saint Ben to aid me.

Make the way smooth for me,
When I, thy Herrick,
Honouring thee, on my knee
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His Return to London
From the dull confines of the drooping west
To see the day spring from the pregnant east,
Ravish'd in spirit, I come, nay more, I fly
To thee, blest place of my nativity!
Thus, thus with hallow'd foot I touch the ground,
With thousand blessings by thy fortune crown'd.
O fruitful genius! that bestowest here
An everlasting plenty, year by year.
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His Wish to God
I would to God, that mine old age might have
Before my last, but here a living grave;
Some one poor almshouse, there to lie, or stir,
Ghost-like, as in my meaner sepulchre;
A little piggin, and a pipkin by,
To hold things fitting my necessity,
Which, rightly us'd, both in their time and place,
Might me excite to fore, and after, grace.
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The Night Piece, to Julia
Her eyes the glow-worm lend thee,
The shooting stars attend thee;
And the elves also,
Whose little eyes glow
Like the sparks of fire, befriend thee.

No Will-o'-th'-Wisp mis-light thee,
Nor snake or slow-worm bite thee;
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A Thanksgiving to God, for his House
Lord, Thou hast given me a cell
Wherein to dwell,
A little house, whose humble roof
Is weather-proof:
Under the spars of which I lie
Both soft, and dry;
Where Thou my chamber for to ward
Hast set a guard
Of harmless thoughts, to watch and keep
Me, while I sleep.
Low is my porch, as is my fate,
Both void of state;
And yet the threshold of my door
Is worn by th' poor,
Who thither come and freely get
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To Anthea, who may Command him Anything
Bid me to live, and I will live
Thy protestant to be;
Or bid me love, and I will give
A loving heart to thee.

A heart as soft, a heart as kind,
A heart as sound and free,
As in the whole world thou canst find,
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To Daffodils
Fair Daffodils, we weep to see
You haste away so soon;
As yet the early-rising sun
Has not attain'd his noon.
Stay, stay,
Until the hasting day
Has run
But to the even-song;
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To his Conscience
Can I not sin, but thou wilt be
My private protonotary?
Can I not woo thee to pass by
A short and sweet iniquity?
I'll cast a mist and cloud upon
My delicate transgression,
So utter dark as that no eye
Shall see the hugg'd impiety.
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To Live Merrily, and to Trust to Good Verses
Now is the time for mirth,
Nor cheek or tongue be dumb;
For with the flow'ry earth
The golden pomp is come.

The golden pomp is come;
For now each tree does wear,
Made of her pap and gum,
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Upon Julia's Clothes
Whenas in silks my Julia goes,
Then, then (methinks) how sweetly flows
That liquefaction of her clothes.

Next, when I cast mine eyes, and see
That brave vibration each way free,
O how that glittering taketh me!

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Upon Parson Beanes
Old Parson Beanes hunts six days of the week,
And on the seventh, he has his notes to seek.
Six days he hollows so much breath away
That on the seventh he can nor preach or pray.

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Upon the Loss of his Mistresses
I have lost, and lately, these
Many dainty mistresses:
Stately Julia, prime of all;
Sappho next, a principal;
Smooth Anthea, for a skin
White, and heaven-like crystalline;
Sweet Electra, and the choice
Myrrha, for the lute, and voice;
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What Kind of Mistress He would Have
Be the mistress of my choice,
Clean in manners, clear in voice;
Be she witty, more than wise,
Pure enough, though not precise;
Be she showing in her dress,
Like a civil wilderness,
That the curious may detect
Order in a sweet neglect;
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When he would have his Verses Read
In sober mornings do thou not rehearse
The holy incantation of a verse;
But when that men have both well drunk, and fed,
Let my enchantments then be sung, or read.
When laurel spurts i' th' fire, and when the hearth
Smiles to itself, and gilds the roof with mirth;
When up the thyrse is raised, and when the sound
Of sacred orgies flies: "A round, a round;"
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