To Live Merrily, and to Trust to Good Verses

By Robert Herrick 1591–1674 Robert Herrick
Now is the time for mirth,
         Nor cheek or tongue be dumb;
For with the flow'ry earth
         The golden pomp is come.

The golden pomp is come;
         For now each tree does wear,
Made of her pap and gum,
         Rich beads of amber here.

Now reigns the rose, and now
         Th' Arabian dew besmears
My uncontrolled brow
         And my retorted hairs.

Homer, this health to thee,
         In sack of such a kind
That it would make thee see
         Though thou wert ne'er so blind.

Next, Virgil I'll call forth
         To pledge this second health
In wine, whose each cup's worth
         An Indian commonwealth.

A goblet next I'll drink
         To Ovid, and suppose,
Made he the pledge, he'd think
         The world had all one nose.

Then this immensive cup
         Of aromatic wine,
Catullus, I quaff up
         To that terse muse of thine.

Wild I am now with heat;
         O Bacchus! cool thy rays!
Or frantic, I shall eat
         Thy thyrse, and bite the bays.

Round, round the roof does run;
         And being ravish'd thus,
Come, I will drink a tun
         To my Propertius.

Now, to Tibullus, next,
         This flood I drink to thee;
But stay, I see a text
         That this presents to me.

Behold, Tibullus lies
         Here burnt, whose small return
Of ashes scarce suffice
         To fill a little urn.

Trust to good verses then;
         They only will aspire,
When pyramids, as men,
         Are lost i' th' funeral fire.

And when all bodies meet,
         In Lethe to be drown'd,
Then only numbers sweet
         With endless life are crown'd.

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Poet Robert Herrick 1591–1674

POET’S REGION England

Subjects Time & Brevity, Nature, Arts & Sciences, Living, Poetry & Poets

Poetic Terms Rhymed Stanza

 Robert  Herrick

Biography

Almost forgotten in the eighteenth century, and in the nineteenth century alternately applauded for his poetry’s lyricism and condemned for its “obscenities,” Robert Herrick is, in the latter half of the twentieth century, finally becoming recognized as one of the most accomplished nondramatic poets of his age. Long dismissed as merely a “minor poet” and, as a consequence, neglected or underestimated by scholars and critics, the . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Time & Brevity, Nature, Arts & Sciences, Living, Poetry & Poets

POET’S REGION England

Poetic Terms Rhymed Stanza

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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