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MARY E. HAVEN
14454.26.16 JULY 2, 1914, 7,172-413
First Edition printed May 1877. Reprinted October 1877, 1880, 1884, 1888, 1891.
TO THE LADY
BEATRIX MAUD CECIL
My dear Maud:
This selection, over which I have hesitated for many months, has been made in the hope of rendering a poet, hitherto little known in proportion to his charm and his deserts, accessible tc readers in general. Herrick's merits may be said to have placed him beyond the sympathy of his own age; his blemishes, beyond that of later times. Ye he was eminent for the felicity with which he unitea natural gifts to mastery over his beautiful art: and, from this happy union, unlike the majority of his coriemporaries, he may be still listened to with b
pleasure as a true living voice, after the lapse of
Nor, unless I greatly
more than two centuries. overrate the value of his verse, will future ages
willingly let it die, whilst the love of beauty, and the magic of the past, two strong powers, retain their hold upon Englishmen.
Fair maidens, we read in the ancient tale, even whilst the dragon kept ward against all others, were free to range within the famous 'Gardens of the West! Such, I please myself with anticipating, alone with Nature in those fortunate times of leisure which fall oftenest to their share, 'woman's quiet hours,' will enjoy the 'golden apples' which are here gathered together from Herrick's old 'Hesperides.' England is painted by him as she was left by Elizabeth; Nature and the human heart, spring and autumn, joy and sorrow, he paints as they are now and always have been. He may be read and read again: his book is of that peculiarly delightful and attractive kind which we think of, rather, as a companion or a friend.