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Happy Birthday Robert Herrick!

08.25.09 Posted in Birthdays, today's words by

official birthday of Robert Herrick is unknown, but August 24, 1591,
was the day he was baptized, so it signifies his arrival and gives us
an excuse to celebrate! Herrick was a sometime cleric who remained
unmarried all his life. It has been conjectured that his father
committed suicide before infant Robert turned two. One of the noted
Tribe of Ben (read about Ben Jonson here),
he wrote touching poems to Jonson that express admiration, envy, and a
longing for validation by the then-dead master. Herrick covered all the
usual subjects: love, loss, and mortality, the happy trifecta! But
there are no depressive tendencies in his verse. Many of his poems are
playful in tone and subject and some are sexually explicit. He leaves
us with questions about his interior world and an appetite for his
words that feeds our speculations. Isn’t that a state most writers
aspire to? Laugh out loud as you read this and recognize. And then sing
to Robert Herrick on this, the sanctioned 418th commemoration of his
Upon the Same
By Robert Herrick
(originally published in 1648; republished as The Hesperides and Noble Numbers. A. Pollard, ed. Lawrence & Bullen, Ltd.; New York, NY: 1898.)

I ask’d thee oft what poets thou hast read,
And lik’st the best. Still thou reply’st: The dead.
I shall, ere long, with green turfs cover’d be;
Then sure thou’lt like or thou wilt envy me.

2 Responses to “Happy Birthday Robert Herrick!”

  1. Kay says:

    Smiled then laughed. Then I printed this and taped it to the edge of my computer screen so I could smile again all day.

  2. Rae says:

    And there’s such irony in the last line, isn’t there? “…or thou wilt envy me.”

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