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Marshall, contains a portrait of Herrick, accompanied by various devices; among which are two Angels bearing chaplets of laurel, and Pegasus on Parnassus; surmounted by the Latin lines which have been printed upon the back of the titlepage to the present volume, and which have been not unaptly represented as descriptive of the poetical genius of him to whom they were addressed.' There are also two printed titles, the one to the Hesperides, bearing the date of 1648-the other to the Noble Numbers, dated 1647.* The whole collection, however, was published at once,
'The author of these lines is unknown.
2 Fac-similes of these two titles are given in the present work.
The original edition of the Hesperides is seldom met with, and indeed there are few rarer volumes of English poetry. Two copies occur in the Bibliotheca Anglo-Poetica, the one, perfect, and priced at £8 8s. the other imperfect, and priced £5: 5s. The copy from which the present edition has been printed, belonged to the late Lord Hailes, and is now preserved in the library at New Hailes. It may be
and in a single volume. It appears to contain nearly every thing which Herrick ever wrote-and not a little which it would have been as well he had never written. With the exception of Charon, a poem of no merit, which he contributed to a work published in 1650, entitled Lachryma Musarum, expressed in Elegies upon the death of Henry Lord Hastings, he ceased to cultivate the Muses after the publication of Hesperides.
This work and its author were equally popular with the generous and boon loyalists, who looked upon Herrick as a fellow sufferer with themselves in the cause of monarchy. During a residence of twelve or thirteen years in London, while his vicarage was withheld from him, he cultivated
mentioned here, that the orthography of the original has been adhered to, because, in many instances, the rhythm as well as the rhyme depend upon giving effect, in pronunciation, to the varieties of the old spelling.
I Wood's Athen. Oxon.
the acquaintance, and enjoyed the society, of the eminent wits and learned men of the time. He writes with enthusiasm of the
lyric feasts which he celebrated with Ben Jonson,
At the Sun,
The Dog, the Triple Tunne.
He was intimate with the most learned, wise, and arch-antiquary, John Selden; and he could also number among his friends, Denham, the accomplished author of Cooper's Hill; Cotton, the inimitable translator of Montaigne; and Endymion Porter, the generous patron of literary merit. It may readily be supposed, that Herrick left such society with regret, upon being restored to his vicarage, an event which happened about the time of the Restoration.1 The comparative affluence, however, of this situation must have afforded an agreeable contrast to the long season of penury which he spent in London. The events of his lat
1 Walker's Sufferings of the Clergy, p. 263.
ter years, and the period of his death, are unknown. It has been generally supposed, that the evening of his days was passed in the tranquil retirements of Devon, and that he closed his life as vicar of Dean Prior.
A writer already referred to describes Herrick as "one of the most striking examples of the unjustly neglected early poets." This was not his fate in his own day. He lived to see the Hesperides acquire a great degree of popularity, and he obtained a due share of commendation from his contemporary poets. He is, however, but slightingly noticed by the earlier critics upon English poetry, and there is reason to believe they can have been little acquainted with his works. Nor is this remarkable. The Hesperides of Herrick is truly a garden grown wild, where flowers and weeds are
1 Quarterly Review, August 1810.
2 Musarum delicia, 1655. Vid. also the quaint lines from Naps upon Parnassus, (1658) printed upon the back of the title to the second volume of the present edition.
so mingled together, that it is difficult to cull the former without gathering some portion of the latter. The most delightful, and the most innocent poetry, may be found in the same page with conceits and impurities, equally at variance with good taste and with delicacy. Hence a hasty or careless examination of the work must have conveyed to a critic an unfavourable idea of Herrick's merits, and this may serve to explain the manner in which he is noticed by Phillips, Winstanley, and Grainger. The first of these writers represents him as inspired by no goddess but his maid Prue; and Grainger, in the same strain, remarks, that Prue was but indifferently qualified to be a tenth muse. Winstanley, again, after quoting four of the dullest lines in the Hesperides, classes the author as
1 Mr Jacob does not mention Herrick in his Poetical Register, a circumstance certainly sufficiently remarkable in an author who has recorded among the poets of England many an unworthy name.