1806 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Rev. Robert Herrick

Peter L. Courtier, in Lyre of Love (1806) 1:75.



Contemporary with Carew, to whose genius his own appears greatly to have assimilated, Herrick, though his productions have not till lately received the attention they merit, was once highly and deservedly applauded. He was born in London, August 24, 1591; and having taken the degree of M.A. in 1629, he was afterwards promoted to the vicarage of Dean Prior, Devonshire. Being ejected from this preferment under the protectorate, he experienced all the inconveniences of penury till his restoration to the living, in 1660. He is believed to have died Vicar of Dean Prior, against the inhabitants of which, in the early part of his life, he had notwithstanding vented many peevish and splenetic accusations. He was intimate with most of the popular characters of his times; and many of his poems being set to music by the celebrated Lawes, they were extensively sung.

JULIA was, perhaps, the Mrs. Wheeler whom he somewhere styles his "beloved Mistress!" Be this as it may, Herrick was no platonist in his amours, as the tender reproach of his favourite Fair — "Herrick, thou art too coarse for love!" — unequivocally demonstrates. There is a freedom and sweetness in his more finished productions, which must forcibly recommend them to every reader of taste.