1810 ca. ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Rev. Robert Herrick

Samuel Egerton Brydges, 1810 ca.; in Russell, Book of Authors (1869) 57.



Herrick is the most joyous and gladsome of bards; singing like the grasshopper as if he would never grow old. He is as fresh as the spring, as blyth as summer, and as ripe as autumn. We know of no English poet who is so completely abandonne, as the French term it, who so wholly gives himself up to his present feelings, who is so much heart and soul in what he writes. The spirit of song dances in his veins, and flutters around his lips — now bursting into the joyful and hearty voice of the Epicurean, sometimes breathing forth strains "soft as the sigh of buried love," and sometimes uttering feelings of the most delicate pensiveness. His poems resemble a luxuriant meadow full of kingcups and wild flowers, or a July firmament sparkling with a myriad of stars. His fancy fed upon the fair and sweet things of nature; it is redolent of roses and jessamine; it is as light and airy as the the thistledown, or the bubbles which laughing boys blow into the air, where they float into a waving line of beauty.