Chrysomela: A Selection from the Lyrical Poems of Robert Herrick (Classic Reprint)
FB&C Limited, 21 ene 2018 - 320 páginas
Excerpt from Chrysomela: A Selection From the Lyrical Poems of Robert Herrick
Robert Herrick's personal fate is in one point like Shakespeare's. We know or seem to know them both, through their works, with singular intimacy. But with this our knowledge substantially ends. No private letter of Shakespeare, no record of his conver sation, no account of the circumstances in which his writings were published, remains hardly any state ment how his greatest contemporaries ranked him A group of Herrick's youthful letters on business has, indeed, been preserved; of his life and studies, of his reputation during his own time, almost nothing. For whatever facts affectionate diligence could now gather. Readers are referred to Mr Grosart's 'introduction.' But if, to supplement the picture, inevitably imperfect, which this gives, we turn to Herrick's own book, we learn little, biographically, except the names of a few friends, - that his general sympathies were with the Royal cause, - and that he wearied in Devonshire for London. So far as is known, he published but this one volume, and that, when not far from his sixtieth year. Some pieces may be traced in earlier collections; some few carry ascertainable dates; the rest lie over a period of near forty years, during a great portion of which we have no distinct account where Herrick lived, or what were his employments. We know that he shone with Ben Jonson and the wits at the nights and suppers of those gods of our glorious early literature: we may fancy him at Beaumanor, or Houghton, with his uncle and cousins, keeping a Leicestershire Christmas in the Manor-house: or, again, in some sweet southern county with julia and Anthea, Corinna and Dianeme by his side (familiar then by other names now never to be remembered), sitting merry, but with just the sadness of one who hears sweet music, in some meadow among his favourite flowers of spring-time - there, or 'where the rose lingers latest.' But 'the dream, the fancy, ' is all that Time has spared us. And if it be curious that his contemporaries should have left so little record of this delightful poet and (as we should infer from the book) genial-hearted man, it is not less so that the single first edition should have satisfied the seven teenth century, and that, before the present, notices of Herrick should be of the rarest occurrence.
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