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HERRICK, Robert


To the Virgins, Make Much of Time

Gather ye rose-buds while ye may:

Old Time is still a-flying;

And this same flower that smiles to-day,

To-morrow will be dying.

The glorious lamp of heaven, the Sun,

The higher he's a-getting,

The sooner will his race be run,

And nearer he's to setting.

That age is best, which is the first,

When youth and blood are warmer;

But being spent, the worse, and worst

Times, still succeed the former.

- Then be not coy, but use your time,

And while ye may, go marry;

For having lost but once your prime,

You may for ever tarry.


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.

I sing of Time's trans-shifting; and I write

How roses first came red, and lilies white.

I write of groves, of twilights, and I sing

The court of Mab, and of the fairy king.

I write of Hell; I sing (and ever shall)

Of Heaven, and hope to have it after all.


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.


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!


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.


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,

That heart I'll give to thee.

Bid that heart stay, and it will stay,

To honour thy decree;

Or bid it languish quite away,

And 't shall do so for thee.

Bid me to weep, and I will weep,

While I have eyes to see;

And having none, yet I will keep

A heart to weep for thee.

Bid me despair, and I'll despair,

Under that cypress tree;

Or bid me die, and I will dare

E'en death, to die for thee.

Thou art my life, my love, my heart,

The very eyes of me;

And hast command of every part,

To live and die for thee.


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;

And, having pray'd together, we

Will go with you along.

We have short time to stay, as you,

We have as short a spring;

As quick a growth to meet decay,

As you, or anything.

We die

As your hours do, and dry

Away,

Like to the summer's rain;

Or as the pearls of morning's dew,

Ne'er to be found again.


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.

Rise; and put on your Foliage, and be seene

To come forth, like the Spring-time, fresh and greene;

And sweet as Flora. Take no care

For Jewels for your Gowne, or Haire:

Feare not; the leaves will strew

Gemms in abundance upon you:

Besides, the childhood of the Day has kept,

Against you come, some Orient Pearls unwept:

Come, and receive them while the light

Hangs on the Dew-locks of the night:

And Titan on the Eastern hill

Retires himselfe, or else stands still

Till you come forth. Wash, dresse, be briefe in praying:

Few Beads are best, when once we goe a Maying.

Come, my Corinna, come; and comming, marke

How each field turns a street; each street a Parke

Made green, and trimm'd with trees: see how

Devotion gives each House a Bough,

Or Branch: Each Porch, each doore, ere this,

An Arke a Tabernacle is

Made up of white-thorn neatly enterwove;

As if here were those cooler shades of love.

Can such delights be in the street,

And open fields, and we not see't?

Come, we'll abroad; and let's obay

The Proclamation made for May:

And sin no more, as we have done, by staying;

But my Corinna, come, let's goe a Maying.

There's not a budding Boy, or Girle, this day,

But is got up, and gone to bring in May.

A deale of Youth, ere this, is come

Back, and with White-thorn laden home.

Some have dispatcht their Cakes and Creame,

Before that we have left to dreame:

And some have wept, and woo'd, and plighted Troth,

And chose their Priest, ere we can cast off sloth:

Many a green-gown has been given;

Many a kisse, both odde and even:

Many a glance too has been sent

From out the eye, Loves Firmament:

Many a jest told of the Keyes betraying

This night, and Locks pickt, yet w'are not a Maying.

Come, let us goe, while we are in our prime;

And take the harmlesse follie of the time.

We shall grow old apace, and die

Before we know our liberty.

Our life is short; and our dayes run

As fast away as do's the Sunne:

And as a vapour, or a drop of raine

Once lost, can ne'r be found againe:

So when or you or I are made

A fable, song, or fleeting shade;

All love, all liking, all delight

Lies drown'd with us in endlesse night.

Then while time serves, and we are but decaying;

Come, my Corinna, come, let's goe a Maying.